-People affected by cancer are impacted in many ways and our healthcare systems are under pressure.

31st May 2019

Nationally, statistics tell us that 78% of cancer patients have emotional support needs such as stress, anxiety and depression, but sadly, just 1-in-10 say they receive sufficient support.

Our mission at Weston Park Cancer Charity is to create a better life for everyone living with cancer, both now and in the future, but we cannot achieve that ambition on our own. With Volunteers' Week right around the corner (1-7 June), we are shining a spotlight on the huge difference our volunteers make to the lives of those affected by cancer; patient, family or friend. We think the best way to find out about our work is to hear directly from the people who give up their time. People like Anthony. Anthony volunteers alongside healthcare professionals who provide practical and emotional support within the Weston Park Cancer Information and Support Centre, offering guidance on health, lifestyle and welfare. -People affected by cancer are impacted in many ways and our healthcare systems are under pressure to meet all of the emotional, health and financial needs, which in turn, adds to the worry and anxiety many people already feel following their diagnosis. "My role is to welcome visitors to the centre, to listen and talk, and sometimes that can completely change someone's outlook. Anthony started volunteering while he was studying for his A levels, to gain first-hand experience in a healthcare environment and has volunteered regularly throughout his gap year. He is looking forward to going to university later this year, where he will study medicine and feels that volunteering has drastically increased his confidence: -Volunteering has given me the confidence to speak to people living with cancer and the emotional maturity to understand how to approach that person and what care and support they may need. -Yes, in the moment some conversations may seem a little overwhelming but when that person makes a real connection, it fuels you, because you've made a dark time a bit brighter. Volunteering has not only helped Anthony grow as a person, but it has also helped to shape his future career: -Volunteering is about bettering the patient experience and the difference you can make to someone's day, and regardless where I land in my professional career, I will use my experience to help other's grow like I have. The Weston Park Cancer Support Centre offers a wide range of services, from one to one support and group sessions to complementary therapies and offers a unique drop in service; because you can't plan for a bad day. Evaluation shows that following attendance at the Cancer Support Centre, as many as 74% of patients reported they were better able to deal with anxiety and stress and 90% said they could now better plan for the future. -The Cancer Support Centre benefits so many people, including volunteers, and the support you receive is second to none. If you would like to find out more about the Weston Park Cancer Information Support Centre, visit: http://cancersupportcentre.co.uk or call: 0114 226 5666. If you'd like to become part of the Weston Park Cancer Charity volunteer team, visit: http://westonpark.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer

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