Volunteers’ Week Meet Shannon

 In News, Volunteering

Throughout Volunteers’ Week (1st-7th June) we are celebrating our amazing team of volunteers, and thanking them for the difference they make at Cancer Fund for Children.

Shannon Brown is one of our residential volunteers.  She helps our Cancer Support Specialists deliver a programme of group support to children and young people who have a parent or caregiver diagnosed with cancer at our Narnia log cabin, in Newcastle Co Down and in communities across Northern Ireland

We recently caught up with Shannon to find out more about her role.

How did you find out about this volunteer opportunity?

A bit of serendipity.  I met someone who happened to be doing some fundraising for Cancer Fund for Children.  I researched the charity before donating. I really appreciated their ethos and mission and decided I would look into doing more.

What made you want to volunteer?

Volunteering for Cancer Fund for Children seemed like the perfect fit. I had the gift of time and I really value being of service.  That coupled with having both personal and professional experience of children’s and adult cancer. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your volunteer role?

There is so much adventure and excitement on residentials, but I have to say the times I value the most are the quieter moments.  For example, in the mornings when I’m having a cup of coffee and the kids start to trickle up the stairs. Sometimes they want to have a chat about the past day’s events or work through feelings that have bubbled up.  It is an overwhelming privilege to listen and support them and see what truly remarkable young people they are.  

What have you found to be the most challenging part of your role?

Before going on residential I would have guessed the hardest part would be the tiredness that comes from the physical and emotional needs of a large group of 8-11 year olds. But the magic of Narnia seems to defy the laws of physics. I find myself leaving after a weekend with the kids feeling more energized than when I arrived. Not to sound cheesy, but honestly the hardest part is not having more time to give!

What is your most memorable volunteer moment to date?

I loved a time when we took the children to Tollymore Forest Park with hammocks.  Each child learned how to hang their own hammock and got spend time in its safe cocoon.  During that time they wrote a letter to themselves about who they were in that moment.

Sometime in the future, their Cancer Support Specialists will send the letter to them and they’ll be able to see how they’ve changed and grown. There was something about the weightlessness of the hammocks and the young people self-reflection. I could see them learning, growing, and improving their coping skills in that moment. It was a real privilege to support and witness it.

What would you say to someone to encourage them to volunteer for Cancer Fund for Children?

Just do it!!! I promise you won’t regret it. If you have been looking for a way to give back, this is it!  If you are feeling apprehensive please know that you will be in great hands working alongside the most amazing staff.  Cancer Fund for Children is a brilliantly run organisation where you will feel safe and well supported.  

Could you volunteer for Cancer Fund for Children?

Demand for our support is growing and we need to grow our team of volunteers. If you would like to join our team find out more about our volunteer opportunities here or email our HR Officer Ashleigh Patterson for more information:  ashleigh@cancerfundforchildren.com


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