‘I can make as big a difference volunteering online as I can in person’

Posted on the 1st June 2021

Everyone who receives a cancer diagnosis and has been through cancer treatments are uniquely equipped to support someone commencing and navigating their cancer journey.

A few years ago, a group member said:

Mike, your replies and lived experiences have been like you giving my family gold and I have nothing to give you in return.

Group member

This is what online volunteering is all about. Being able to make a positive contribution to someone’s challenging journey.

This can be achieved from your kitchen, lounge and garden, any day of the week, any time of the day. It’s a lot simpler than you would think to get involved in making a positive difference to someone’s cancer journey.

Volunteering at Macmillan

Over my years, volunteering as a Macmillan Online Community Champion the areas and topics I give support in have remained the same. But the pandemic brought new challenges where patients were feeling they had been ‘shut away’ from seeing, let alone talking with their medical professionals.

So, the Online Community was able to step in and help bridge this gap. Providing positive peer support and encouragement when members we’re struggling with finding a way forward. The Online Community is a safe place to find a listening ear where people feel understood.

An increase in those seeking help during the pandemic

During the pandemic, there’s been a definite increase in people finding, joining and posting on the Online Community. With the breakdown in ‘normal’ cancer referrals, people find that the Online Community has become a lifeline as they frantically search online for answers and connections. Most questions still focus on the main aspects of being diagnosed with cancer, questions about treatments, how to come out the other side of treatments and how to support family and friends.

When the term ‘shielding’ was introduced it brought a new level of anxiety and practical challenges. So, the Online Community was a place where people could find and give support during these challenging times using their lived experience to support each other and we will continue to support members as they try and navigate this new post pandemic world.

My many years of Lymphoma treatments have left me with a reduced immune system so volunteering face to face is not an option for me.

But I can make as big a difference online as in any other face-to-face volunteering situation.

Mike Taylor

Online Community Volunteer, Macmillan

Since 2017, Mike has been a volunteer with the Macmillan Online Community. Mike responds to posts, acts as a moderator and supports people to navigate their cancer journey.

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