Patrick, from Lewisham, South East London, is one of our many wonderful volunteers. Patrick first heard about Demelza Hospice Care for Children when he was a child himself, after visiting our hospice in Eltham and fundraising with other children from his church. He first applied to volunteer at the very same place in April 2019 and now 23, Patrick has been a regular volunteer ever since.

Patrick has always found volunteering a very rewarding experience. While studying at Bristol University he loved giving his time as a football coach working with children with Down’s syndrome and as a boxing coach for adults with Parkinson’s disease, so when he came back to London after graduating and wanted to continue volunteering, we were delighted that he chose to do so with Demelza.

Patrick loves the variety and flexibility of volunteering at the hospice and enjoys providing an extra pair of hands on busy days. As a care volunteer Patrick might spend time entertaining the children with activities in the lounge or in the garden, or help out the nurses and Health Care Assistants with some of the children’s personal care tasks such as their morning routine. As a prospective medical student Patrick has particularly enjoyed learning about different clinical conditions and how they are managed through chatting to the wonderful care staff.

Patrick has also volunteered with Demelza’s Family Support team, lending a hand with families on the annual beach trip to Margate, and even helping to take a group of siblings on a sailing trip down the Thames at the Ahoy! Centre. Patrick says, “It was really rewarding to see both the children and parents enjoying themselves at the beach, a day trip that without Demelza’s organisation would be very difficult for some families to do or even get to. One of the mums I met, who had three energetic young children to look after, had never actually been to the beach before the trip. Her kids absolutely loved it and I was able to help the mum enjoy her day to the full too, by helping look after her children as we explored the rock pools."

So, what next for Patrick? Having secured a place at Newcastle University to study Graduate-Entry Medicine in September, he’s off up North! Patrick says “I would really recommend volunteering at Demelza - particularly for any prospective medical or other healthcare students, as I have gained an invaluable insight into what it’s like to care for children with complex conditions by seeing what an amazing job the care team do. Having had the opportunity of volunteering at Demelza, I was able to include my experience on my personal statement, and talk about my volunteering at the interview. This really helped me stand out from other applicants as places were limited and competition was really tough.

"Furthermore, having not had any close family or friends affected by similar life-limiting conditions it has been an eye-opening and humbling experience that makes me feel very grateful, both for my own good health as well as to live in a developed country where this vital care provision is actually available to families.”

Thank you Patrick for sharing your story, and we wish you every success with your studies!

If like Patrick you'd like the rewarding feeling of making a real difference to people in your own community or improving your skills, we'd love to have you with us as a crucial part of Team Demelza. Take a look at our volunteering page to explore and start your journey towards something wonderful.