In February 2020 Di’s life changed overnight with the news that she had a brain tumour. Then the pandemic hit so she reached out for online support and found that one of the best things for her was making new friendships with others going through a similar experience. Di connected with local people online through the Cornwall Brain Tumour Support group, and after six months she also started volunteering.
Di’s diagnosis was a grade 4 glioblastoma. She’s had a biopsy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and is now on her second round of chemotherapy following a 15 month stable period. Di saw that people were afraid, lonely, angry - and all those feelings she understood from her own personal experience.
Becoming a friend to people in a similar position, facing treatment and not sure if they can get through it, can have a big impact. Di has been available to provide amazing support to her peers and found that little things like messages, a phone call or a card can make the biggest difference.
This was shown movingly in this message that Di received after forming one such connection simply through messages:
“When I found myself drowning in a sea of fear and anxiety, having the support and friendship of someone who truly understood was the rock I have clung to. And that’s what you have been to me. No words can describe how much your unfaltering support has meant to me"
Faced with her brain tumour diagnosis and a situation that no-one wants to be in, Di has been determined to use that experience and she says she takes something positive from every single person that she can help to feel supported.
I had to retire from my teaching career after 32 years, and I so miss the sense of pride in being able to help others, and by volunteering with Brain Tumour Support I've managed to regain some of that feeling of being useful, and feeling proud.
June 1st-7th is Volunteers’ Week – a time to say a big thank you to all our wonderful volunteers.
If you are inspired to join this special part of the Brain Tumour Support family why not get in touch and find out more from Gavin! Drop him a line on firstname.lastname@example.org