This National Volunteers’ Week, we celebrate some of the different ways amazing Marie Curie volunteers are caring for others.
When you think of Marie Curie, you probably think of their amazing nurses, providing such special care for people at the end of their lives and their families. And while these nurses are definitely at the heart of what Marie Curie does, there are lots of other incredible people who volunteer their time to help the charity in different ways...
Yva McKerlich - Spiritual Care Volunteer
“I was a teacher when my mum was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 50. In the last three months of her life she was in a Marie Curie hospice where she received such amazing care that took away her pain and maintained her dignity. After Mum died, I decided to lead her funeral using words I’d written by her bedside in her last days. Later, the funeral director then asked if I might like to lead funerals for other people, so I decided to retrain as an independent funeral celebrant.
Once I had finished my training I contacted the hospice my mum had been in and asked if I could use my skills to help and became a Spiritual Care Volunteer for them. This means I visit people who want to see me, sometimes to talk about how to help plan their funeral but often just to hear and record their stories about their childhood and their life. I can then gift these memories to their family once they’ve died or sometimes include them in the funeral services if I’m asked to lead it.
As I’m someone they’re not connected with, people sometimes feel able to tell me things like how proud they are of their family; things they may struggle to say directly to their loved ones. Sometimes they also ask me the hard questions such as if they’re going somewhere after this life. And while I don’t pretend to have the answers I’ll ask them to talk about what they believe which can be quite healing.
Every time I talk to someone, my mum is always in the back of my head – in fact the first person I ever worked with at the hospice was in the exact same bed my mum had been in and was the same age as her. I just hope I can use my knowledge and skills so other families can feel like I did having Mum supported so amazingly by Marie Curie.”
Sandra Cheyne – Collection Box Coordinator
“Having seen first-hand the difference Marie Curie makes to people’s lives, once as a Marie Curie Nurse myself, it’s now a privilege to help as a volunteer, distributing and collecting donation boxes which are such an important way of raising money.”
Joan Martin – Complementary Therapist
“I volunteer on the ‘twilight’ shift at the Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast, giving massages and reflexology treatments with essential oils to patients. At night people can be at a very low ebb but I try to provide a sense of wellbeing, tranquillity and a good night’s sleep.”
This Volunteers’ Week Marie Curie are thanking the more than 10,500 volunteers who give their time in hospices, shops, offices, events and in communities, all to help support more people, and their families, living with a terminal illness. If you’d like to find out more about how you can become a volunteer call 0800 716146 or visit mariecurie.org.uk/yoursvolunteer
- For more charity news see Yours Magazine out every fortnight, on a Tuesday.