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Meet our volunteers

Our volunteers play a vital role in helping us to achieve our goals. Read about members of our volunteer team, what they do and why they enjoy volunteering for The Charity.

Nicola's story

How do you support The Charity as a volunteer?

I’m passionate about using my experiences to make a difference. I’m a Champion for the BRIAN app and we have regular meetings to talk about its promotion and discuss our feedback as users of the software. 

I have also contributed to focus groups with The Charity, regularly respond to surveys as part of the Research Involvement Network, am a member of a Patient Advisory Group and have helped Imperial College London with a research project they are working on.

It’s also important to me to raise awareness of brain tumours and The Charity however I can, from sharing my story to support the Great Minds campaign, to filming videos, liaising with my local MP and wearing The Charity’s clothing and accessories when I’m out and about.

Why did you decide to volunteer in this way?

The Charity have been and are an amazing network of support for me and for those affected both directly and indirectly by a brain tumour.

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer with The Charity?

I really enjoy everything about being a volunteer for The Brain Tumour Charity. The involvement is good fun and we’re a brilliant support network and social community to each other here too.

Our contributions as volunteers also mean our own experiences and knowledge can help play a really important part in contributing to the awareness and further success of the Charity and its ongoing pursuits to improve medical research, which in turn improves the lives of those battling this hidden yet serious health condition.

Andy's story

What’s your volunteer role?

I’m a Digital Peer Support Volunteer. One of The Charity’s most popular services is our closed Facebook Support Groups, which offer peer to peer support to thousands of members. My role involves managing the requests to join these Groups and recording member’s details.

Most importantly for me I foster the warm, welcoming and inclusive nature of the support groups by ensuring new members are personally welcomed to the group and posts in the group are responded to by The Charity where appropriate. I am also supporting our growing use of other digital communication channels, for example HealthUnlocked.

The role is very flexible as I choose the times that I volunteer and I can help from home.

Why did you start volunteering in this way?

When my Meningioma was discovered nearly four years ago, I went from having no knowledge of brain tumours to surgery in just 6 weeks. During this time, and my subsequent recuperation, I found the Facebook Support Groups to be a massive help and comfort. They helped address my concerns and the many shared experiences provided real-world guidance on what I was going through and what I could expect in the future.

What have you most enjoyed most about getting involved with The Charity?

I’ve been really impressed by the friendly and highly professional way the Support team welcomed me into their group, with extensive training and ongoing digital and emotional support.

I’m loving being part of the Charity and the support team, and it gives me huge pride and satisfaction having the ability to help others. I hope that my personal experience of having brain tumour treatment helps me provide even more enriched support to others impacted directly or indirectly.

Gina’s Story

Tell us more about your role as a volunteer

I've done various roles as a volunteer; each one is a unique experience. I started 3 years ago, firstly collecting money while a Christmas choir sang for commuters at Kings Cross station. I support marathon runners - as I'm not prepared to work that hard! I also visit schools and centres giving talks about my life living with a brain tumour. I do cheque presentations for groups and organisations who have fundraised. Along with my husband and friends I've also set up stands in supermarkets and sporting events to educate parents and the general public of the HeadSmart campaign.

What do you most enjoy about your involvement with The Charity?

I generally work in a team of inspiring people in my local area who really enjoy the buzz of charity work. We bounce ideas off each other and support one another whenever we can. The events I get to go to have always been great fun. Also meeting with the public and listening to their stories is a real humbling experience.

Jane's story

What made you decide to support The Charity?

Our involvement with the charity began after my mother’s death in 2016. Having lost both my parents to Brain Tumours in little more than 5 years, I chose The Brain Tumour Charity as one of the charities to benefit from donations at her funeral. A little over a month after her death, my daughter Emma and I took part in The Twilight walk in Windsor again raising some more funds for the charity, despite a 10k walk being of little challenge to either of us. Six months later Emma took part in her first half marathon in Bath again fundraising for the charity, I went along to support her and this was my first experience at a cheer point with the Brain Tumour Charity.

Living near to Bath I also volunteer at the Bath Half Marathon. Working full time and also a regular volunteer with Girl guiding these are roles that currently fit in with my life, although I know that when I have more time available, I will definitely consider other volunteer opportunities within the charity.

We are also passionate about creating awareness of the charity and although not fundraising take part in various events wearing our Brain Tumour Charity tops – this year we have taken part in the London Vitality 10k, and along with my husband Prudential Ride London and Emma The Royal Parks half marathon. When taking part in an event you really do appreciate the great support of the cheer points along the route!

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

This year volunteering has become more of a family affair with my son Ben joining the cheer squad in Kingston when we did Ride London and my husband Keith volunteering as a photographer for the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

Volunteering with the charity is like being part of a big family, despite it being one that we would all rather not be part of; but all working towards one aim “a world where brain tumours are defeated”.

Suki's story

What do you do as a Twilight Walk Champion Volunteer?

My role is all about speeding awareness about this amazing event, informing and encouraging people to take part. Whether that’s by social media or in person, I tell everyone about it! The latest people signed up are three ladies from my exercise class!

What do you enjoy most about your role with The Charity?

Everyone at the charity is really friendly. It’s a great cause and I can really trust the way the charity works. It’s small and personal, which makes a big difference to me.

What is it about The Twilight Walk that makes you want to promote it in your area?

It really is a great event, I’ve seen it grow over the years and encouraging people to come and spend time with family and friends for a great time is a no brainer.

Andrew's story

Tell us about your role as a volunteer

I volunteer in the head office at The Brain Tumour Charity every Monday and Wednesday morning. I help with orders from the shop or for fundraising, and help get them sent out.

What made you decide to volunteer?

I had passed The Charity before as I live in the area, but it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and I was getting ready to retire, that I thought about volunteering. My son was actually the one who really encouraged me to do it. 

I thought it was an obvious place to volunteer. And by volunteering in the head office it was also like a continuation of the work I’d been doing as I was working in an office before, so it was familiar to me. Plus, all the staff at The Brain Tumour Charity are so wonderful, it was a pleasure to come down here.

So, that was it, I started volunteering in 2014 - that was five years ago now.

What have you found most fulfilling about volunteering?

I just enjoy being down here and being part of the team. It’s knowing you’re doing something useful and being part of a team working towards defeating brain tumours, and helping to cure them - it’s so fulfilling.

What would you say to others who’d like to volunteer?

Come and give it a try. I’ve enjoyed it and the staff here are very friendly and helpful.

Angela's story

What do you do as a volunteer in the community?

I am a Community Volunteer for The Brain Tumour Charity in North East England. This means that I go along to events or fundraisers that people have set up to support the charity, so that I can thank them on behalf of the charity for all that they've done. I also give talks about HeadSmart to community groups, so that I can raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours in children and young people within my local area.

At the same time, as a person with a brain tumour myself who regularly uses the charity's services, I hope that it feels meaningful to those who've taken the time to fundraise to have someone thank them first-hand, and for them to know that the money they are raising helps people in their local area. It's also very important to me to raise awareness of childhood or teenage brain tumour symptoms; as I myself displayed some of the symptoms on HeadSmart cards in my teenage years and could potentially have been diagnosed earlier. I think that the HeadSmart initiative's aim to reduce diagnosis times to under 4 weeks is vital in saving more lives and I'm proud to play my part in making that happen.

What do you enjoy most about getting involved with The Charity?

I most enjoy meeting like-minded people who are all united in raising money for this cause, even though they are each so wildly different from one another: from call centres to high street shops, church groups to rock band nights. I never quite know what's coming next when anyone from the charity asks, "Angela, we have a group of people we'd like you to meet..." I'm excited about where my volunteer role might take me next, and even moreso about the people I'll meet along the way.

We're raising the benchmark

We've been recognised as Charity of the Year 2018 for our pioneering approach, innovative research solutions and, above all, our community-centred approach to everything we do.