My highlights from volunteering have been when I am directly involved with the families, everything else is important, but working with families really brings it home, how serious their situation is and how we’re there to make things better.
We supported Zak by driving him and his dad to his chemo appointments and occasionally his mum would join. His appointments were at the Royal Marsden Hospital so about a 45-mile drive from where he lived. I had my trusted sat-nav which always came into good use when we got nearer the hospital, as it warned me of where the traffic was so we could take diversions and ensure I got them there on time. We went some weird ways to that hospital. I also once drove them to Guys Hospital.
Zak was a joyful, happy child, always running around a lot. After his chemo, the last time I saw him his hair had grown back, I remember telling him he now had more hair than his daddy. When I saw him last I thought he was starting to get better, so it was a really sad time when I found out he died. It means quite a lot to me what the family have said about the support we provided.
It wasn’t just about Zak, we supported the whole family. His dad and I would speak about his allotment during those drives and just general life things, so you get to know a lot about them as a family. Driving them to and from appointments took the stress away from them, as driving to a hospital can be a stressful thing. I was always there on time and waiting for them when they came out. I never wanted them to have to worry about where I am.
Become a practical support volunteer
Our amazing practical support volunteers help with a range of activities so families can focus on taking care of their child and making memories. For Zak’s family, driving him to and from appointments meant that his daddy could sit in the car with him and hold his hand when he was scared. This meant the world to them.
For other families it could be helping them with gardening, food shopping or even DIY jobs. We are currently looking for volunteers to join our team, if this is something that you are interested in please complete our online volunteer application.