Rachael Davies
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Volunteers' Week

Rachael Davies
Posted by
08 Jun 2016

As its volunteers’ week, I thought I would catch up with Gill Jones from our Cardiff Branch and ask her a few questions to find out what motivates her to continue volunteering for Bloodwise after nearly 40 years.

1)  Could you tell us about how you first became involved with Bloodwise?

When our son, Hywel, was diagnosed in May 1970, Tom joined the branch immediately. I attended events, but joined the branch in 1980. I waited a while after Hywel died in 1976, as I wanted to spend special time with our daughter Elin. She was nearly seven when he died, and only four months old when he was diagnosed so I felt it important to concentrate my time on her, as Tom was often working away as well.

3)  Can you tell us a little bit about the Branch and any projects you are working on?

Over the years the Branch committee has been made up of people whose lives have been touched in some way by a blood cancer. We currently have 15 members and meet at 7pm on the 3rd Monday of every month in the Henry Wellcome Building at The University Hospital of Wales. New members are very welcome! As well as supermarket collections and information stalls at the hospital, our main events each year are our concerts. We have 3 in our Church - Bethany in Rhiwbina, Cardiff and our annual Christmas Concert which, this year, will take place in a local school (Cardiff High School) on 10 December.

3)  What’s been your most memorable moment during your time with Bloodwise?

Probably when Blue Peter supported our charity for three years on the trot. At the 3rd event a Blue Peter presenter was brought to Pontcanna Fields, a local park, in a helicopter, this was all very exciting! Another memorable moment was when Simon Weston agreed to be Father Christmas at our Christmas Concert. Everybody in the St. David's Hall stood to applaud him, it was very moving. We have had some very special people come along as Father Christmas over the years!

4)  What drives you to continue volunteering for Bloodwise?

Meeting young people with a blood cancer. We met a three year old girl at a Vintage Car Rally a few years ago who had two different strains of leukaemia and at one of the Impact Days in London a boy of 8 talked to us about his experiences as a patient. Then more recently Emily Clark had a huge impact on us as well as my cousin's grandaugher Annie. We are determined to fight as much as we can to beat these cruel diseases. We also continue for our precious son.

5)   What advice would you give anyone wishing to start their own Bloodwise Branch?

Be sure to have enough branch members or friends you can call on to help in the organising and running of events.

This July would have been Hywel’s 50th birthday so to mark the occasion Tom & Gill are planning a Lego build day in their local church hall in Cardiff. If you’d like to go along, please email me for more details – rdavies@bloodwise.org.uk