To celebrate Volunteers Week, this week we're giving control of the Community News Blog to some Macmillan's wonderful volunteer. This post is by Chris Lewis, a Volunteer Co-ordinator at our head office and winner of a Vicky Clement-Jones award for his dedication to volunteering and making a difference to people affected by cancer.

Chris Lewis receiving a Vicky Clement-Jones award for his volunteer work

Hi,

     I've been volunteering with Macmillan Cancer Support for almost four years. My main role is working in the Volunteering Team, helping recruit volunteers and interns. But I also do work out in the community with people affected by cancer.

  My Macmillan volunteering started after I had been diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer. Unfortunately I'v been unable to return to my previous work, and didn’t know how to proceed with my new life. I wanted to use my experience to help people that were in a similar position to myself and Macmillan helped me do some courses to learn more about cancer and its effects.

 Volunteering is a massive part of my life, and gives me a focus. Because I am still having regular treatment, I'm able to fit my volunteering round my treatment schedule, which is great.

 I feel very much a part of the team at Macmillan and I feel that my experience and business skills are truly valued. I frequently get asked to talk at conferences or with new members of staff. I am now a member of Macmillan Council, which meets with the board of directors to discuss the organisation's progress and policy.

Macmillan works in all areas of cancer care, and can always use more help and money. Volunteering is a fabulous way of giving something back. It's a flexible way of learning new skills, and feeling part of a team. Knowing that you are working to improve people’s lives is a fabulous feeling. I can thoroughly recommend it!

Getting involved is easy. Just go to our website and check out volunteering opportunities in your area. There is such a variety of ways you can volunteer, you'll be surprised how convenient it can be.

Some of the other ways that I'm involved in volunteering are as follows: I have my own charity, I am a buddy for cancer patients, I run a support group, I set up a Buddying Scheme @ St Georges Hospital in Tooting and I am a member of a patient group that works with the management of the hospital to improve facilities for cancer patients. I talk to groups, in the local community, raising awareness of many issues that cancer patients and their families face.

Finally to bring all this work together, I am a BLOGGER!

All my social networking and fundraising pages are linked to my blog. With my blog, I'm reaching an international audience, helping people deal with some of the emotional and psychological issues that people face. I have created a community where people can share experiences. I write in a simple and easy to understand style. By sharing my own experiences, people are aware that they are not on their own.

I am aware that times are changing very quickly, and the way that people require their support is also changing too. So many people are now starting to use Social Media. A blog is something that can be read at any time, at a time that is suitable to the reader.

I blog about 4 times a week. Not always about cancer-related stuff but always thought-provoking!!

Please feel free to have a look and let me know what you think. All my contact details are there.  www.chris-cancercommunity.blogspot.com  Enjoy!!!