Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cancer Campaigns Ambassador Showcase: Ally Whittam

I met Ally at the Lobby Day at the beginning of the month. He is a relatively new member of the Ambo family and we were introduced by our fellow Ambo and friend, Clive Barley. Ally and Clive share a constituency, Lytham St Anne. Thankfully my overexcited chatter didn't scare Ally away from the programme and his own enthusiasm for the charity was instantly apparent. Ally studied politics and his knowledge of the subject will be a huge asset for Team Ambo as he will be able to share his knowledge with us.

I try to keep in touch with any many fellow Ambo's as possible, usually by Facebook, Twitter or email if they live far away, and since the lobby I have learnt more about Ally's dedication to the charity. He provides a significant amount of time to the cause and CRUK are very lucky to have someone like him working for their cause. I'm really glad he has allowed me to share his story today and I hope I do it justice!

What made you decide to volunteer for CRUK?
Like many other people who volunteer with Cancer Research UK I have been personally affected by Cancer. In 2012, my Grandad was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer. Thankfully he was able to recover. Hearing that a loved one has been diagnosed with Cancer is a devastating blow but has served as my motivation for being involved CRUK. By volunteering in varying capacities I genuinely believe that I am helping the wider fight against Cancer.
What sort of things do you do for the charity?
Currently I volunteer in my local CRUK shop in St. Annes twice a week. While being unemployed after finishing University at the end of last year, this has enabled me to keep busy, improve my own skill set and work as part of a diverse team to raise money for the important work that CRUK does. It is a great feeling to know that your work has helped the shop raise money every week for such a good cause.
In addition to my work in the shop, I am also a Cancer Campaigns Ambassador. Having studied politics the ambassador role has been a fantastic experience in that it has helped give me the opportunity to lobby my MP directly on issues such as early diagnosis. I also recently volunteered at Race for Life in Blackpool as a Course Marshal.
What are your favourite aspects of volunteering for the charity?
My favourite part about working in the shop is being part of such a passionate team. Everyone is so determined to keep the shop running well. I also enjoy interacting with the public and having the chance to improve my skills.
As an ambassador, being able to meet and talk to my MP on the terrace at the Houses of Parliament was a fantastic experience. Meeting all the other ambassadors at the lobby day was also brilliant. It’s great to know that so many like-minded individuals are helping the same cause!
Do you have any future volunteering plans?
Whatever job I end up in, I hope to continue volunteering. Although I may have to eventually stop helping out in the shop I definitely want to continue as a Cancer Campaigns Ambassador as this is where I can make an impact on the political process. I am also interested in becoming more involved in fundraising and taking part in other events as well.
What advice would you give to anyone considering volunteering for CRUK?
My biggest piece of advice would be to get involved as much as you can. You will get the chance to improve your skills, meet some fantastic people and help beat cancer sooner!
Now seeing as Clive was one of the three musketeers responsible for me agreeing to the marathon I really think he should be doing the same with Ally and persuading to join Team CRUK Ambo too! I will recruit as many Ambo's as possible to run it with me if it's the last thing I do, safety in numbers after all!!!
Thank you for sharing your story Ally, we are very lucky to have you as part of Team Ambo! 

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