Something I did not anticipate yesterday was the amount of tears shed over the two awards we gave out to the most fantastic volunteers in the world – Mary Jane & Carol! They were great tears and tears of JOY!
We have partnered with Macmillan Cancer Support/Harley Street Clinic and had the opportunity to give out the very first V.O.T.Y. quilts – it stands for Volunteer Of The Year. This all came about when I was honoured with ‘Sustainer of the Year‘ from The Junior League of London for creating The Pink Pom-Pom Project. I wasn’t expecting it at all but was really touched when all of these people came to hear me speak! Anyhow, it inspired me to give back too and in the best way possible!
Our Volunteer Number One is Mary Jane. She has worked with Macmillan Cancer Support for 25 years offering her professional volunteer services and support day in and day out, expecting absolutely nothing in return. She told me it was an easy job and her services and support still very much needed every day. Her aunt had developed Breast Cancer before Mary Jane started volunteering. Her aunt was a nurse and soon found out there weren’t any full-on cancer support facilities in their rural area. Appalled and determined, her aunt gathered her resources and started a wing attached to the hospital she worked in. Mary Jane followed in her footsteps and has been with Macmillan ever since.
Our Volunteer Number Two is Carol. She has volunteered for 7 years, she helped me through my cancer treatments, every day that I went in to that Harley Street clinic. Her smile, genuine warmth and incredible disposition set the tone for every patient walking through those doors. It’s a hard thing facing someone undergoing treatment, cancer is an especially lonely disease. Macmillan helped me, and many many others, put our lives back together and made for certain no one slipped through the cracks!
I must say, if I hadn’t had these amazing volunteers in my life, I probably would never have started writing this blog or conceived of and founded a non-profit organisation called The Pink Pom-Pom Project, or worse, I may never have left my house. Through Carol and Mary Jane and even Rosa, the Director of the Macmillan Cancer Support Clinic at Harley Street, with their extensive experience they allowed me to be me and helped me through the difficult times.
Taking approximately 3 months overall and over 100 people, we organized our own volunteers through our special Stitch & Bitch sessions all over London, from the Renegade Craft Fair to Wholefoods to even my private residence. These fantastic members of the public, just like Mary Jane and Carol, designed and made the VOTY quilts by hand and machine, with love and determination.
Although it is the charity I started and an idea we executed, this story belongs to Macmillan Cancer Support and its volunteers. This story is not only about Mary Jane and Carol, but also about the many many many men, women and even children, who give back for such an amazing cause! Please share this story with every person you know who volunteers and even those who don’t – maybe they’ll get on the band wagon too!
Cheers to those Tears ladies – Congratulations for receiving the very first Volunteers Of The Year Quilts- you both have earned it a thousand times over!