Long-time friends share their experience of volunteering together

Posted 21 Feb 2017.

Friendships can enhance the volunteering experience. Often, taking time to give back to the community can help create lasting connections with others – this is an enormous benefit our Cancer Centre Volunteers share.

Our Cancer Centre Volunteers are there to listen unconditionally to patients, carers and family members, share conversations about life and even have a laugh which can really bring them together – both those who have known each other for years and those who have only just met!


Meet Pat and ‘chele!

LR: Pat Roney and ‘chele Shilkin (SCGH)


Below, we share the stories of Pat and ‘chele –friends of 30 years who now volunteer together at our SCGH Cancer Hub.

'chele’s story

Michelle ‘chele' Shilkin has been volunteering with us at our SCGH Cancer Hub for over 3 years. ‘Chele has always been willing to give back to the community, a foster carer for years, ‘chele now joins us weekly to provide support to cancer patients and connect them with our support services.

“In our role smiling is really important even when people have sad faces. It’s important to listen unconditionally and let people laugh, cry, tell you about what’s growing in their garden and to just be there help them pass the time. For me, volunteering is my way of saying thanks for all the good stuff in my life that I’m grateful for. I find volunteering with Pat makes make the experience warmer. You actually get to know your friend a bit better and from a different perspective and that is really valuable. As a volunteer you meet so many amazing people who all have their journeys in life, all have their hurdles and you learn about the resilience of human nature and the size of people’s hearts”.


Pat’s story

Pat has been volunteering with us at our SCGH Cancer Hub for 9 months. After retiring in 2015, Pat decided to volunteer with us after a recommendation from her long-time friend, ‘chele.

“I’ve always been a volunteer in different ways, I believe you get so much from it and you give so much to people - it’s just wonderful. In our role we chat to people on a basis of friendship, whether that person is the patient, carer, spouse or family. I just talk to them and listen, most of the time they just want to talk about life, where they are from, the travels they have been on and just normal everyday stuff as in a friendship. To me, volunteering means giving my time to support people who are going through extreme difficulties in their life. I suppose it makes me value my life so much and the little bits and pieces that are troubling me fly out the window. Every time I walk away from a volunteering shift I feel happy, I might go to extremes and say I walk on air a little bit and I think how wonderful it is to be me. Michelle and I have been friends for more than 30 years so we could probably say that we are best friends. We have an absolute total love for each other and seem to reflect each other’s principles, values and integrity. It’s wonderful to know that she’s here volunteering with me and it’s kind of like that security blanket when you come in - we are a team. As a volunteer the courage of people we meet is unbelievable - I just get blown away by it totally”.


Are you interested in volunteering for us?

Are you thinking of getting involved in your community by helping people affected by cancer?

We have volunteering opportunities available at our Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Cancer Hub and Fiona Stanley Hospital Cancer Hub. Volunteers need to have an understanding nature, be willing to listen and help connect people with our support services.

If you’re looking for a fulfilling volunteering opportunity and are open to our selection and training process, please express your interest by emailing our Coordinator, Yvette on cancercentrerecruit@cancerwa.asn.au or call 13 11 20.

Found in:  News - 2017  | View all news