Meet volunteer Mark Sneddon #volunteersweek
Meet Mark Sneddon, our Bloodwise North office volunteer. Mark is here to tell you about what inspired him to start volunteering for Bloodwise and to give you some insight into how he has been helping us in the North office.
How long have you been volunteering for Bloodwise?
I began volunteering for Bloodwise in July 2015 so for around 10/11 months now.
What inspired you to start volunteering for Bloodwise?
In April 2014, my girlfriend's sister Katherine, lost her brave battle against leukaemia. Katherine was only 21 and at University. Katherine was diagnosed in the summer of 2013 with AML an aggressive form of leukaemia. Despite excellent care and a very early diagnosis she was advised in the early part of 2014 that her leukaemia was untreatable. Katherine refused to accept this and was told that she could consider applying for trials both in the UK and the USA; but the likelihood was that even if accepted it would only prolong her life by months. In the event, before she could take up the option of a trial she contracted a severe infection which her body could not fight and she died on the 14th April 2014.
Katherine was a lovely, considerate and thoughtful girl who had so much to look forward to and it was difficult for our family to believe that in the 21st century there was nothing that could have been done to save her. It is because of this and a wish to give more leukaemia sufferers the chance of treatment and a future that this charity is so important.
In June 2015 I took part in the Cyclone, a 67 mile bike ride through the challenging Northumberland hills. I recognised that this was a fantastic opportunity to raise money for charity and the choice of charity was easy given Katherine’s illness. It had to be Bloodwise. I completed the ride (in one piece!) raising over £1000 in Katherine’s memory.
Following the Cyclone I decided that I wanted to offer my time and any help I could to Bloodwise and the following month started voluntary work in the Bloodwise North office. I have been working there one day a week for most weeks since.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you have been working on?
The work has been varied and very rewarding; from packaging up and sending out fundraising materials to volunteers and regional branches to researching corporate opportunities for Bloodwise. I am a keen amateur photographer and I was able to take a few shots for the charity to use when they rebranded to Bloodwise in September 2015. I have particularly enjoyed any research work I have been carrying out as it has allowed me to utilise the skills I have acquired in my working life.
What is your favourite thing about being a Bloodwise volunteer?
I like knowing that by volunteering I am making a difference, however small that difference is.
What advice would you give to anyone wishing to start volunteering at their local charity office?
Do it! Charities rely on goodwill and the very nature of what they are trying to achieve means you’ll be working with people who have a positive outlook on life and who want to make a difference. Charities are always looking for volunteers and your local charity office will be extremely grateful for any help you can give them. Also don’t be afraid to tell them about any skills you possess or ideas you have.
Find out more about volunteering for Bloodwise >