Ken MacNeill believes that volunteering is engrained in his psyche. He has been volunteering at Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House for the past four months as a Peer Support Volunteer.
Before volunteering, Ken spent a great deal of time at Wellspring as a member. Following his diagnosis in 2011, Ken participated in a variety of programs including Cancer Exercise, Meditation, Brain Fog, Writing for the Health of It and Taking Charge: Men’s Group. “Wellspring is a great place to talk to people who get it”, says Ken. “It is a community. I learned that talking to other members can help alleviate some of your pain, without ever feeling like you are being a burden on someone.”
Tall in stature, yet gentle in demeanour, people naturally tended to gravitate to Ken to ask questions and share their cancer journey. Ken often found himself in a supportive peer role, so he trained to become a Wellspring Peer Support volunteer. “I love making members smile, laugh and feel at ease, and it gives me such pleasure to see the progression a member makes between when they first arrive to when they leave Wellspring.”
Having gone through his own cancer journey, Ken is supportive, encouraging and caring, and he uses his experience to help other members with advice on topics like how to talk to your doctor about treatment options or concerns, and which Wellspring programs would be most beneficial for them. “If someone benefits from knowing my story, then it’s all worth it”, says Ken.
Once, while watching TV, Ken heard a quote that has become his mantra: “The best way to help yourself is to put your arm around someone who needs it more than you do.”
Wellspring is grateful to have people like Ken as part of outstanding team of volunteers.