Committed to volunteering for life after recovering from bowel cancer

Wendy Herridge, age 55 from Ruskington, has shared her story about how her life experiences drew her towards a volunteering role with St Barnabas.

Wendy joined St Barnabas as a Family Support Services volunteer in 2013, after retiring from her job in the Metropolitan Police Force and re-locating to Lincolnshire to be closer to family. She explained “the things which happened in my life definitely led me to St Barnabas.” Wendy’s mother sadly died from lung disease, and her sister recovered from cervical cancer. As well as this, Wendy herself was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009, and thankfully recovered.

When talking about her cancer, Wendy explains that “it was such a traumatic experience, and has really given me a purpose to help ill people, as I can empathise with how they’re feeling.”

As part of Wendy’s role, she runs bereavement groups, 1 to 1 sessions and also attends friendship groups in the local area. In an average week, Wendy will dedicate three days to St Barnabas, and sees around four individual clients.

Wendy said: “I remember one particular man from my 1 to 1 sessions, whose wife had just died and he himself was also diagnosed with cancer. He’d experienced a difficult upbringing, which he wanted to come to terms with. I showed him a special letter writing technique so he could write letters to people in his past and present. It felt very rewarding knowing that when he died he was at peace with his demons.”

Both Wendy and her husband, Richard, volunteer for St Barnabas Hospice and love the flexibility and freedom they get.

Wendy said: “I would definitely recommend volunteering for St Barnabas, as they are so supportive and provide brilliant personal development. There is always the opportunity to learn more and take on additional responsibilities.

“Everyone has experienced the feeling of loss, whether it be a person or an object, so it is something we can all understand to a certain extent. I will certainly be continuing to volunteer for St Barnabas for as long as I am able.”

To find out more about volunteering with St Barnabas Hospice call 01522 518 221 or email volunteering@stbarnabashospice.co.uk

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