International Women’s Day – Meet Sarah
As we approach International Women’s Day we want to acknowledge the work of one of our inspirational volunteers, Sarah Annett.
Sarah’s day job is a Senior Maritime Operations Officer for the Northern Ireland Coast Guard. At the weekends, she volunteers her time and skills to help support young people diagnosed with cancer or young people living with a parent at Cancer Fund for Children’s residential facility nestled at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in Newcastle, Co. Down
Sarah has been volunteering on our residential programme for four years. She loves the sea and sailing, and has been an integral part of our specialist team that has taken young people on sailing trips to the Kyles of Bute in Scotland with the Ellen MacArthur Trust.
Speaking about her volunteer role Sarah said,
“I wanted to volunteer my time for a local charity and had heard about Cancer Fund for Children and the support they offer to children affected by cancer and their families at their short break centre Daisy Lodge.
“After meeting the charity’s Residential Services Manager and having a tour of their facilities I knew that I wanted to give my time to Cancer Fund for Children and be part of the vital service they provide to help young people cope with the impact cancer has on their lives.
“I am one of the Cancer Fund for Children’s residential volunteers. Residentials bring young people aged 8-18 together for group work activities and connects them with other young people who are going through a similar experience. These short breaks provide a safe environment for young people, encouraging them to talk about their fears and worries, helping them make memories and most importantly have one.”
For Sarah, who loves the sea, her volunteering highlights has been accompanying young people on the Ellen MacArthur sailing trips in the summer. Sarah says,
“Living on board the Ellen MacArthur yacht and seeing young people push their boundaries, doing things they never thought possible has been an amazing experience to share with them.”
Last summer, Sarah let her creativity flourish when she planted a beautiful wildflower meadow in memory of Daniel Forsythe and to raise funds for other children and families impacted by cancer. With the help of friends Marcus from Mourne Landscapes and Mark from Ecoseeds, Sarah sowed the ground on a disused piece of land on her family’s farm.
“Daniel who lived locally in Ballyveagh was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer, a Wilms Tumour, in May 2017. He was just four years old. Sadly he passed away in August 2018. Daniel was a courageous, fun loving little boy who loved the outdoors. He was supported by Cancer Fund for Children during this illness.
“The week of Daniel’s death the wildflowers began to bloom and it seemed only fitting to have the meadow in his memory. We have had visitors from all over the world to the wildflower meadow and the local community have been so supportive. Local photographers have even used the meadow as a backdrop for wedding and family photos and donations by visitors totalled £350 at the end of the summer.
“The meadow has become a peaceful oasis and a very special place that will hopefully bloom for years to come.”
Every year Cancer Fund for Children provides practical and emotional support to over 800 young people living with cancer and their families. We could not provide this service without the help of our amazing volunteers. On International Women’s Day 2019 we would like to say a massive thank you to Sarah for the vital role she has played helping us connect, empower and support young people impacted by cancer, and creating a beautiful legacy in memory of little Daniel.
If you have been inspired by Sarah and would like to volunteer find out more here.