Buckinghamshire charity celebrates unsung heroes in Volunteers’ Week
A charity which was launched from offices in Padbury, near Buckingham, before moving to Milton Keynes, is giving special recognition and thanks to some of its key workers during national Volunteers’ Week which takes place from 1-7 June.
Among the volunteers that the charity Brain Tumour Research relies upon are Lorraine White and her 24-year-old granddaughter Shannon Moore from Aylesbury.
Lorraine started volunteering at the charity’s head office when it was still in Padbury back in 2012, to give something back after Shannon, a former pupil at Cottesloe School in Wing and student at Amersham and Wycombe College, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was nine years old.
Lorraine said: “Shannon was diagnosed in 2005 with a craniopharyngioma brain tumour after suffering with headaches and was referred to an ophthalmologist who advised she had diagnostic testing. The results were unclear so Shannon underwent an MRI scan. As we have eye problems in the family, it was a huge shock to learn that Shannon actually had a brain tumour.
“She has undergone quite a number of surgical procedures over the years to remove a cyst, but the tumour itself couldn’t be removed because of its location in the centre of her brain. Shannon also has had radiotherapy, as well as hormone treatment to ensure she continued to grow properly, because the tumour was near the pituitary gland.
“Her most recent craniotomy in 2014, when she was 17, resulted in Shannon losing the sight in her right eye and she has very limited ‘letter box’ vision in her left eye. Shannon now walks with a white cane and has a Labrador Retriever guide dog called Indy, who helps her remain independent.
“Despite living with long-term difficulties as a result of her brain tumour diagnosis, I am so proud of her, and particularly proud that she graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a degree in music and sound technology.
“Shannon and I both volunteer at Brain Tumour Research to give something back. Our tasks often involve sending out merchandise to the charity’s supporters to help them with their fundraising, along with other volunteers. I just love working with the team. People are so nice. It makes me happy to see us making a difference.
“I have also helped by manning the charity’s stall at Christmas fairs and the Bucks County Show.”
Shannon said: “The rewarding aspect of volunteering is how much I have seen the charity grow since I first volunteered during my school summer holidays back in 2013. Witnessing the increase in donations over the years has been a real privilege and I enjoy being treated as part of the team and being welcomed as a staff member.”
Not content with being a volunteer, Lorraine, along with her husband Trevor, Shannon’s grandad, as well as Shannon are also committed fundraisers for the charity. Both Trevor and Shannon have taken on a charity abseil, Lorraine and Shannon have taken part in events such as Wear A Hat Day, a Fire Walk and a Walk of Hope and Trevor has participated in a number of cycling events including the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100. Shannon’s mum Paula White is a regular giver to the charity. Together the family have raised close to £9,000 to help fund vital research.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research said: “We are thrilled to celebrate Volunteers Week by recognising our treasured volunteers and thank Shannon and Lorraine and everyone who plays this vital role.
“As well as volunteers at head office, we rely on people in the field who help out in all sorts of ways, including at fundraising events, by selling Christmas cards on our behalf, or by processing our collecting tins.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK.
It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.
The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
For information about volunteering for Brain Tumour Research go to http://www.braintumourresearch.org/contact/volunteer-for-us