I talk about being inspired by my fellow CRUK Ambassadors a lot on this blog and I'm going to talk about it even more today! Without a doubt the best part of being a volunteer is getting to know the others - working alongside them is one of my favourite things in the world. I am definitely the least amazing of the group by far!
Today I'm going to showcase one of the most inspirational people I've had the pleasure of meeting - Jules Rattray. It's a special day for her today as it's exactly 4 years since her last chemo treatment. Jules is friendly, intelligent and incredibly brave. She is a very gentle soul and also highly intelligent - so much so that I don't hold the fact that she's a Man Utd fan against get :) She is a wonderful asset to CRUK and I'm truly honoured that she has allowed me to share her story with you guys today. Jules, I find you incredible and wish you many many many happy and healthy years ahead of you filled with lots of love, fun and success!
What made you decide to volunteer for CRUK?
After having finished my chemotherapy treatment and finding I was in remission I really felt I wanted to do something to help people in the future. I Knew about CRUK because of finding info from them during initial diagnosis. However after being so unwell and having to stay in so much to keep away from infection, I had become quite anxious about being out and about, so I just volunteered in my local CRUK shop for 4 hours twice a week to get out. While I was there I learnt more about what the charity does and when I came across the Ambassador role, I realised it was my opportunity to make my experience into a positive one and contribute to a future free from cancer.
*What sort of things do you do for the charity?
I have done some fundraising in the past at various sporting events, I have also had some newspaper articles to advertise race for life done. But most of my effort for CRUK goes into campaigning as an Ambassador for the charity. I lobby my MP on the policy issues that matter most for CRUK. I have been to two parliamentary lobby days, the first was for the standardized packs campaign and the second as to introduce MPs to our 2015 general election calls. Most recently I spoke to politicians and scientists at the Beatson Institution for Cancer Research about my personal experience with cancer and why I decided to become an ambassador.
*What are your favourite aspects of volunteering for the charity?
I find it incredibly rewarding because without Cancer Research UK I wouldn’t be alive today, I owe them so much so it has been great to be able to contribute even in a small way to the work that they do. I also find that everyone I have come into contact with at CRUK are incredibly kind and caring people who really are dedicated to a future where al cancers are cured.
*Do you have any future volunteering plans?
I plan to continue the ambassador role indefinitely, I also volunteer as a Samaritan once a week.
*What advice would you give anyone considering volunteering for CRUK?
I would tell them the ambassador role can be very flexible and with many of the actions you can give as much or as little time to them. You will feel a great sense of achievement at the parliamentary days when the whole team gets together. And you will meet many very inspiring people along the way, all working towards the same goal. You can get involved in other ways to, there is plenty fundraising to be done and volunteering in one of the CRUK shops is a great way to get out socialising and meeting new people all whilst helping to beat cancer!
Jules made a very important speech recently and I wanted to share 2 paragraphs of it for you as I found them really powerful;
I think every ambassador has a defining moment in their journey through cancer, I thought I might share mine with you. It was during a phone call I had with my Dad. I was particularly anxious about the mid-way scan I was about to have. I said to my Dad, ‘well what if it’s not working? What if I am still dying?’ To which he replied without even needing to think ‘I won’t let you die, you are my daughter and I will never let that happen to you’. I told him ok and that I loved him and then hung up the phone. I told him ok, because that is what he needed to hear. I couldn’t tell him what I really felt because it would break his heart – It was that day, that I realised no matter how much he loved me, my Dad couldn’t protect me anymore, I was completely alone.
I am standing here today as an ambassador for Cancer Research UK because I don’t want to find myself, years down the line and all I can say to a loved one is I won’t let that happen to you. I am standing here now because I do love my Family and friends very dearly but I recognise that no amount of Love alone can stop cancer. We have to be proactive, the only way that we can protect our loved ones from cancer is through Research and clinical trials, through raising awareness and through Early Diagnosis.
It’s a long road ahead, but if we work together, Wewill beat cancer sooner.
Jules has her very own blog which is a really interesting read so please do click the link and have a look at her writing. http://newbeginning3today.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1
If you're interested in becoming part of the CRUK volunteering family and working alongside people like Jules please take a look at the link to find a role that will suit you! http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/volunteer