I briefly got to meet the lovely Ciara (pronounced like Keira Knightley rather then the singer Ciara!!) at our recent parliament lobby day and she is lovely to talk to! She has kindly agreed to let me share her story as a CRUK volunteer here with you today and I’m really happy she trusted me to do so!
Ciara is about to turn twenty three and she works in Harley Street as a Nutritionist. She has a real interest in health and living a healthy lifestyle. She is also incredibly charitable as she not only dedicates large portions of her spare time to CRUK but she also gives blood and other amazing things to help others. Young people tend to get a lot of criticism and we tend to only read about the negatives in the press and online but I think someone such as Ciara should be highlighted as someone who is a genuinely lovely person doing her bit to make the world a much better place so I hope you enjoy reading my interview with her today :)
What made you decide to volunteer for CRUK?
Like many people in the UK I have been personally affected by Cancer. Numerous people close to me have had their own battles with the disease, the first of which was my grandmother who lost her battle with to Pancreatic Cancer 10 years ago. It was a very quick process and came as a real shock to our family, especially as she was only 62. Over time you realise that it doesn’t get easier, you will always miss those who are gone. In my case I felt cheated and angry that she had been taken away and began to look into ways of turning the anger into something productive. When I read about all that CRUK do to prevent people going through the same thing as my family have I wanted to get involved which lead to me deciding to volunteer.
What sort of things do you do for the charity?
I have run Race for Life annually since 2009; I think it’s a perfect way to do something for yourself while supporting an amazing charity at the same time. If you’re not one for running you can still get involved by volunteering to help out on the day. By the end of this year I will have ran a total of 61k for CRUK, with my first half marathon in October. Other ways I donate my time are through the Ambassador programme and promoting Race for Life at other events such as the Sport Relief Mile and local events.
What are your favourite aspects of volunteering for the charity?
On a completely selfish level it makes me feel like I am doing something positive. On the flip side in everything you do whether it be a local 5k, cake sale or a lobby day with Parliament you have such a passionate team supporting you. I still get regular calls from the team offering support for any upcoming events I have planned. Every minute of your time is so appreciated and not just from a fundraising perspective. By volunteering at such events as Shine or Race for Life you get to be a part of something huge.
Do you have any future volunteering plans?
My next big event is the London Marathon though I hope to add in lots more before them. While I’m not up to running it I will be volunteering on the day to help out. Cancer Research are the official sponsors’ this year so I will be looking out for anyone in a CRUK vest to give them an extra loud cheer!
What advice would you give to anyone considering volunteering for CRUK?
Just do it. It’s so easy and makes such a difference you will be hooked in no time. If you are stuck and need advice check out the CRUK website. You will find upcoming events to get involved with or ideas for planning something on your own.
I’m hugely relieved to know people such as Ciara are volunteering to help at The London Marathon as I have a feeling I’m going to need to a lot of support making it round that 26.2 miles!! She works on Harley Street just as I do so hopefully she can not only give me some much needed advice on nutrition but hopefully we can have some lunches to get some CRUK related ideas shared!
If you have read this from Ciara today and are thinking you may want to get involved and volunteer like she does then please visit the CRUK volunteering page and see if there is a role that suits you.http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/volunteer
Thanks so much for letting me share your story Ciara, CRUK is lucky to have someone as passionate as you involved in their work!