Let’s hear it for the boys – volunteer in memory of a loved one

by Steve McDowell Marie Curie Volunteer Steve McDowell volunteers as a receptionist at the Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead. When he’s not volunteering, Steve studies computing at the Working Men’s College and works in a number of part-time jobs. Steve McDowell, Marie Curie Volunteer

I first decided to volunteer with Marie Curie Cancer Care after my mothe
r was cared for at the Hampstead hospice. The nurses at the hospice treated her wonderfully and supported my family and I when we needed them. They helped to make a very difficult situation slightly more bearable. I wanted to give something back to the charity, so I decided to volunteer. I now enjoy being part of the team that helps the people and families that need Marie Curie’s support, like mine did.

Finding the right role

When I started my search for a role, I knew I wanted one that would suit me and use my strengths. I enjoy meeting and communicating with people so I chose a front-facing and interactive role. As a receptionist I enjoy greeting people as they arrive at the hospice. I also receive phone calls and queries, and generally help visitors find the right people and information they need. Over the year and a half that I have volunteered as a receptionist, my involvement in the hospice has changed. I still volunteer on the reception desk, but I also get involved in lots of other activities. This can include completing some admin work, helping on the wards, and reading at remembrance services. I really enjoy the freedom of my role and greatly appreciate how the staff at Marie Curie are always keen for me to try new experiences and gain new skills.

Special moments

One of the most memorable moments of my time as a volunteer was when I helped at a remembrance service. It was a very emotional event as I had grown to know the families that came along to remember their loved ones. It was like seeing old friends; people at the hospice become like family after a while. Volunteering has become a big part of my life. While sometimes it can be hard to juggle all my commitments, my experience has been a hugely positive one. Volunteering has helped me to become a much calmer person. I used to have a job that was highly stressful, but I now feel as though those stresses don’t matter. My experience has put things into perspective and has really boosted my confidence levels. There are many ways to get involved as a Marie Curie volunteer, see what opportunities are available in your area.