The hard work and dedication of cancer volunteers at The Mulberry Centre based on the grounds of West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust has been recognised with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The incredible accolade for the team – who are supported by Macmillan Cancer Support professionals and training – came after they were nominated by Michelle Rodrigues Ram, 50, who was blown away by the hard work and compassion the team showed when her husband Mark was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in 2018.
He passed away two years later, in April 2020.
Michelle, who was supported along with daughter Gisela, now 11, says: “When Mark was diagnosed it came completely out of the blue, and our lives were turned upside down.
“I dropped into the centre one day when I knew Mark wasn’t going to live, as I wasn’t sure what to tell our daughter and I felt enveloped by love and support.
“There was always someone to talk to and we were both offered holistic therapy and counselling, which were invaluable. Everyone I spoke to was so compassionate and had a lovely manner.
“With their support I’ve learned not only how to survive, but to flourish – something I never thought possible.
“I nominated the centre because I wanted the volunteers who supported us to be acknowledged.”
The Mulberry Centre provides free support and information for anyone affected by cancer physically, emotionally or psychologically.
Over 140 volunteers give their time to help the centre in a variety of roles, ultimately supporting not just those with cancer, but also their family and carers who are, like Michelle and her daughter, bereaved by cancer too.
Mulberry Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Services Manager Julie Quinn, says: “We knew we’d been nominated, but we were up against so many other people, we were delighted when we found out we’d won!
“Our volunteers really do give so much to help support people affected by cancer, and never ask for anything in return.
“It’s therefore wonderful their hard work and dedication has been acknowledged, and it’s an amazing ‘thank you’.
“Without our volunteers we wouldn’t be able to support those affected by cancer, so it goes without saying they really do play a crucial role in our service, and to have that recognised by an award like this means so much.”
Mulberry Macmillan Volunteer Lead Debbie Davey adds: “During the pandemic we have continued to offer our much needed emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing support to those affected by cancer.
“We are very proud of our volunteers without whom we could not provide our services and we are very proud to have been awarded the Queen’s Award in recognition of the important role and ongoing dedication of our volunteers.
“People volunteer here for all kinds of reasons. They may have had an experience with cancer themselves, either diagnosed or know someone, or just enjoy the company.
“Whatever the reason, everyone is dedicated to one aim – supporting those who need it most at what can be an incredibly difficult and traumatic time.”