The above quote speaks for itself as to the time and generosity Kate – our radiographer expert, has given to Macmillan’s Community the past three years. Here’s one of our Cancer Information Nurse Specialists, Kim, to tell you a little more as to why congratulations are in order for Kate:

Each year the Macmillan Volunteer Awards celebrate our amazing volunteers around the UK. These awards offer the chance to say a huge thank you for the time, care, expertise and commitment our volunteers so generously give. We’re excited to announce that Kate, one of our professional volunteers on Ask an Expert, has won an award this year. Ask an Expert is available through the Macmillan Online Community and provides people the opportunity to post questions (anonymously) to a variety of in-house and volunteer cancer experts. Kate has volunteered her expertise and time since mid-2016 to answer people’s questions about their radiotherapy treatment, and this is on top of her busy day job in the NHS. Kate has deservedly won the Deborah Hutton Award for support of people affected by cancer, and we are delighted for her. We are extremely grateful to ALL the amazing health professionals volunteering on Ask an Expert to support more people living with cancer.

Here's Kate to tell us a about how she came to volunteer with the Ask an Expert team, and how she feels about winning the Deborah Hutton Award:

“I have been part of the Ask an Expert team on the Community for nearly three years now, and find it a very rewarding addition to my current role. I work as a Macmillan Specialist Radiographer, which means I help radiotherapy patients to manage their side effects during treatment and provide advice and medications where appropriate.  I am also there as a source of information and support to patients and their families before, during and after radiotherapy.

“I first came across the opportunity to be part of the Community team whilst I was looking on the Macmillan website for information for a patient. I have always found Macmillan provide hugely beneficial resources for health professionals as well as patients, so the opportunity to help contribute to their amazing work was tempting. I felt I had a lot of useful information that had been collected over the years that could be put to good use, so I signed up immediately.  Since then, I have answered a huge variety of questions about radiotherapy on the online forum. Some may only take a few minutes, and others may stretch over a couple of days as I consult colleagues or do a bit of background reading, but I feel I answer each question with the same amount of consideration.  Answering questions online enables me to spend more time writing a comprehensive answer, but also to bring in other aspects that the asker hadn’t mentioned, such as whether they are accessing the right support services or eating properly. This enables me to provide the answers they are looking for, but also provide a more holistic approach to the response, so that people feel that what matters to them is being acknowledged – the whole ethos of Macmillan Cancer Support.  

“Being part of the Ask an Expert forum can be challenging when also juggling a demanding full-time job and family life, but it is intensely rewarding, and I feel really privileged to be in a position to provide support to people.  I am extremely lucky to have a supportive employer, and the support I have received from the whole Community team has been great. Occasionally there is a question that I’m not sure I can really answer, and there will always be someone willing to pick that up and share the load.  It really does feel like a team even though you don’t get to meet your colleagues! To be chosen to receive the 2019 Deborah Hutton Award for supporting people affected by cancer is almost embarrassing – there are so many fantastic volunteers for Macmillan that all deserve recognition and accolades; how can you possibly single people out?! However, I am hugely grateful to be nominated and to have won and proudly accept this award, as both a Macmillan professional and as a volunteer for the Community.”

To finish off, I thought I just had to share with you all a few pieces of feedback that recently came in for Kate:

“I hope you have some idea of how relieved, less stressed, and happier I am having read your reply…I note that you posted your reply at 1.30am whilst I was tucked up in bed, probably between hot flushes. To be up and responding at that time of night deserves more than my thanks.”

“Oh Kate, thank you so much for that response. I have learnt more in that one email than through all of the appointments we have attended! I feel much more equipped to get through the journey we have ahead of us.”

“Thank you, Kate, for answering me so patiently, as difficult as it is to hear, everything you’ve said makes perfect sense…thank you so much for answering my silly questions, your replies have really helped me find a semi-positive mindset through a very negative time and for that I am truly grateful.”

I think you'll all agree Kate's a massive asset to the Community - congratulations Kate!