CANCERCARE: Volunteer joined to ‘give something back’

Dawn Clifford
Dawn Clifford

CancerCare volunteer Dawn Clifford joined the charity around a year ago to “give something back” following a turbulent time in her own life.

The 51-year-old former office manager recently won the charity’s Most Welcoming Volunteer award for her reception desk role at its Lancaster Road base.

Dawn, originally from Alfreton in Derbyshire, was battling an alcohol addiction when she had the opportunity to move to Lancaster for treatment, and says she has never looked back.

She heard about CancerCare through a friend, and said she was amazed to find that some Lancaster residents did not know about the services and help the charity provides.

She said: “It’s a really worthwhile cause.

“I’ve known people who have suffered cancer, and have accessed the service and I know how worthwhile it is.

“I heard about CancerCare from a friend, and I decided I just wanted to do something that was helping other people.

“I started helping out at some of the events - the Christmas ones, the Pooch Parade, Santa Dash, mainly registering people at the start of the events.

“I’ll be registering people for the Cross Bay Challenge in August.”

Dawn said the majority of people she sees on her Tuesday and Friday shifts at CancerCare are there for appointments.

Part of her work is to make people feel confortable, often, quite simply, by just talking to them.

“I like the whole idea of the charity,” she said.

“It’s a really nice environment to work in, everyone here is really nice, and it’s been a great way of meeting new friends.

“We now go out socially as well.

“Because I was not working when I came out of treatment, I wanted and needed to do something to fill my time up.

“I guess it’s my way of helping other people and giving something back.”

Dawn said working for the charity has also been a blessing for her, and that she knows how important a simple conversation can be when people face stress in their lives.

She said: “You can get involved in as much or as little as you want, there’s no pressure at all.

“Today for instance I’m on reception so I’m meeting and greeting people, that sort of thing.

“I do some volunteering work with St John’s Hospice next door as well, working in the furniture shop in Lancaster Road.

“I’m not yet in a position to go back to work just yet, so this is ideal for me.

“It’s a lovely community of people up here and not every town and city is fortunate enough to have something like this.

“There are so many people affected by cancer and yes there are a few people I know who have accessed the services CancerCare offers to counselling and therapies.

“There’s always a need for more volunteers, especially for the events, and I’d recommend it to anyone really.

“The fundraising department do a fantastic job.”

“I know how important just talking to people is. In my own situation it’s nice to have people to talk to.”

Further details about the CancerCare Cross Bay Challenge on August 7 between Silverdale and Flookburgh can be found here: http://www.cancercare.org.uk/events/cross-bay-challenge.