Yesterday lunchtime I undertook three hours collecting for MacMillan Cancer Support, at the Marks & Spencer (M&S) store in Briggate, Leeds. Although, I’d done numerous bits of voluntary work for various cancer charities over the past few years, it’s the first time recently I’ve ventured down this philanthropic route.
My absence from this undertaking the result of feeling a need to reduce the cancer related activities I was involved in. This loathsome illness an unwanted part of the family’s life journey for nearly eight years now.
I couldn’t/can’t avoid some elements of the odious odyssey, such as my wife Karen’s monthly treatment, oncologist consultations and scans. However, having a break from voluntary help of cancer support teams an option I could, and did, take.
It wasn’t an option I really wanted to countenance. However around April, a time I was giving four hours of my time weekly to the hospice where my dad passed, along with just completing four collections as part of Marie Curie’s March Daffodil appeal, I was starting to feel ‘volunteered out’.
Yours truly was becoming overwhelmed by how my life was all-encompassed by this rancid disease. My only outlets being the penning of a daily narrative and gardening, I was starting to feel something had to give….. If you pardon the pun.
At the time, spring had sprung and gardening my own patch was, as usual, bequeathing it’s annual cathartic kaleidoscopic gift. However, the numerous trigger’s I was experiencing while maintaining my late dad’s garden were blindsiding me with an unwelcome regularity. Back then, this produced an inner melancholy that was starting to overwhelm me.
I kept up my dad’s garden maintenance, but since April, apart from carrying out previous held commitments, I’ve had a break from undertaking voluntary work. A sabbatical that ultimately bore fruit, as I felt re-invigorated during the first of my three scheduled collections as part of MacMillan’s September fundraising campaign.
One of the charities annual flagship drives with M&S, which contributes towards the funding of the numerous cancer support initiatives for sufferers and their families. Something I know, from my own experience, to provide an invaluable crutch during this unwanted trek. An organisation my wife and me have leaned on several times over the past ninety four months.
One of the things which stood out I’d missed during this break was how the work reinstates a belief in humanity. Reigniting a realisation that there are some incredibly generous individuals walking our avenues and alleyways. Thoughts we’re subliminally guided against by seemingly wall-to-wall negativity spouted on social and other media channels.
Yes, there are some horrible individuals about. There always has been, always will be. However, it’s re-assuring to witness there’s many people who are warm, caring and engaging, with great benevolence. People wanting to give something back to organisations who’ve supported them in the past, present or will do in future.
I’m not writing this narrative for personal kudos, it’s merely to highlight the charity isn’t the only one who benefits from voluntary work. The volunteer is given confirmation human spirit, unlike Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, isn’t dead.
If you’d like to share that experience, it’s available through the following link:-