Volunteer Story of the Month - June 2024

3rd-9th June is Volunteers' Week, and the 40th anniversary of it. The celebration starts today. It’s a chance to recognise, celebrate and thank the UK’s incredible volunteers for all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector, and society as a whole. We wanted to shine a light on an extraordinary young volunteer in the borough: Dom.

Dom was inspired by the loss of his friend was inspired to volunteer and raise funds for The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Dom became a young volunteer at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust after his close friend James passed away from cancer. His friend James was also young at 22 and was treated at The Royal Marsden’s Oak Centre for Children and Young People after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Having been inspired by the care that James received at The Royal Marsden and as a way to honour his memory, Dom decided to volunteer with the hospital’s play specialist team, as well as the teenage and young adult unit. Dom also took part in the Banham Marsden March in both 2023 and 2024 in his wheelchair and dressed up as Superman, raising vital funds for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Dom volunteer story of the month for June 2024 in a wheelchair and superman costume Dom says: “Volunteering makes me feel like I’m making a real difference to patients’ lives, as well as honouring my friend’s memory.”

Dom's Volunteering Story

Hi, what’s your name and what volunteering do you do now?

My name’s Dom, I’m 22 years old and I volunteer two times a week at the Oak Centre for Children and Young People at The Royal Marsden, which is a cancer hospital in Sutton. I was born with spina bifida, so I know how it feels to be in hospital as a young person. I try my best to take patients’ minds off things as much as I can, whether that’s through playing games with the younger children or simply having a chat with the teenagers and young adults.

Dom at The Royal Marsden volunteering

What got you interested in volunteering?

I started volunteering at The Royal Marsden in Sutton after a close friend of mine passed away last year. I wanted to give back to the hospital that cared for him, so I decided to volunteer with the play specialist team. The play specialist team are so important in supporting children at the hospital and help to make their experience less scary and overwhelming. Volunteering makes me feel like I’m making a real difference to young patients’ lives, as well as honouring my friend’s memory.

In the future, I aspire to become a play specialist, which James also dreamed of becoming, so it feels extra special for me to pursue this path, not only for myself but for him too.

Any examples that come to mind when you really enjoyed volunteering?

A memory that stands out for me was when a patient, who I had been supporting for some time, asked if I could be there when they rang the bell to signify the end of their treatment. It was such a special moment, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I also took part in The Banham Marsden March last year and this year to raise vital funds for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. Dressed up as Superman, James’s favourite superhero, we completed the 5-mile route in an hour and 40 minutes. James was our very own superman. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing, and spirits were so high. I met loads of new people and also saw so many familiar faces. I felt really good about myself after completing the march, I was so proud of what I had achieved.

Anything you’d say to anyone interested in volunteering?

I truly look forward to my volunteering shifts. I really feel that I’m an integral part of the team and play an important role. All the staff are so upbeat and helpful, and I always know they are on hand to support me if I need their help.

Dom smiling whilst volunteering

Thanks to Dom for his time.

If you are interested in volunteering at The Royal Marsden and making a real difference to our patients and staff, please click here to find out more.

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust (Royal Marsden Hospital)

Telephone Befriending & Supportive Listening Volunteer

or directly: https://www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk/volunteering-royal-marsden

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Mobile Trolley Volunteer

Hub Volunteer

or directly: https://www.royalmarsden.org/support-us/volunteer

If going directly, please let them know you found them through Volunteer Centre Sutton.

If you're interested in a Volunteer Advisor session to find a role that interests you, click here for more information.