The week commencing 1st June is National volunteer’s week, a time to celebrate the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. I volunteer as much as I possibly can for Muscular Dystrophy UK, Muscular Dystrophy UK (previously known as the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign) is the charity bringing individuals, families and professionals together to beat muscle-wasting conditions. Seeing as I have a form of Muscular Dystrophy then this was the obvious choice for me.
Alongside my wife and daughters I attend events and just do my best to help and one of the highlights is the London Marathon. We are asked to help set up a cheer point, wear orange and shout lots. It’s not much but apparently it helps and is greatly appreciated. My younger brother is a runner too, so we usually have more than one reason to be there and more than one reason to feel rewarded ourselves. The reason I mention about being rewarded is because that’s exactly what it is. Over 100 runners take part in the Marathon for Muscular Dystrophy UK and they have trained all year and raised thousands of pounds for research to find treatments for these conditions. Standing on a London street and shouting at runners for four or five hours for someone who could potentially contribute towards a treatment is the least I can do.
I was talking about this with a friend and colleague who also took part in the marathon but for a completely different cause. I asked my friend; Karen if she could tell me what it meant to be supported by volunteers, how it made her feel etc…
“Seeing the wall of orange Muscular Dystrophy supporters at the entrance to Tower Bridge was one of the main highlights of my London Marathon. The almighty cheer of support that erupted as I ran past was the loudest of the day and (whether they knew me or not) everyone shouted my name along with genuine cheers of encouragement. The buzz I got from it was amazing; it lifted me up, and without a doubt carried me through the rest of the run.”
There you go, another reason why we do these things and I have been thinking about my reasoning for doing these things quite a lot and reasons to volunteer far out weigh the reasons not to do it. It doesn’t cost me anything, I’m going to London anyway, it’s a glorious day out and you certainly feel like you’re part of something. It is a massively positive thing to do and helps so many people that are trying to help others. It doesn’t matter who runs past and for what charity, they can rest assured that they will be cheered on by us, being loud is something we’re very proud of.
So it’s in this very special week then that I’ll throw down the gauntlet and urge everyone to get involved going forward. It doesn’t matter if it’s a national charity or a small community project; there are people out there that need our help and we can all do that. A few minutes or hours of your time could make a world of difference and trust me when I say that you will feel a sense of achievement at the end too.
Pick one, just give a little bit, choose something close to your heart and go and help, whether it’s an animal welfare charity, children’s charity a local community project or indeed Muscular Dystrophy UK, just offer yourself up to do something good and naturally, without thinking, you’ll do it with a smile because that’s what volunteering does to you.
|Our Olivia at this years London Marathon|