Meet our volunteers

Meet Charlie 

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Name
Charlie 

Which hospital do you volunteer at?
Charing Cross Hospital 

How long have you been volunteering with Imperial Health Charity?
One year 

What is your volunteering role?                                                                                                                             I am  Patient Engagement Volunteer on the Youth Volunteering Programme. When I initially started volunteering, I was volunteering on the orthopaedic ward by chatting to patients. I made sure that the patients were comfortable whilst also making tea, coffee and assisting with serving dinner to those on the ward. In addition to this role I have  taken part in the Summer Youth Volunteering Programme which gave me the opportunity to volunteer in many different areas across the hospital such as; imaging, main outpatients and therapies.

What do you think is the main difference you make as a volunteer within the hospital?
I think hospitals can be a very scary place for many people especially those who have to stay for long periods of time. As a volunteer I think it is very important that people have someone who isn’t directly involved in their treatment to chat to and help make sure they are relaxed and comfortable.

What have you learnt whilst volunteering?
The biggest thing I have learnt whilst volunteering is how important the little things mean to patients whether it be offering biscuits with their tea or giving directions to someone who is lost, it all adds up to make their experience as good as possible.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering at one of our hospitals?                       Give volunteering a go because there are so many different roles to get involved with and you will never what it is like until you try it. Volunteering gives an unrivalled sense of satisfaction knowing that what you have done has significantly helped those in need of support.


 

Meet Francesco

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Name
Francesco De Magistris

Which hospital do you volunteer at?
Hammersmith Hospital 

How long have you been volunteering with Imperial Health Charity?
Nearly three years

What is your volunteer role?
Macmillan Information and Support Volunteer

What are your main tasks as a volunteer?
Being there for patients, listening to them, being here to chat — sometimes patients want to talk about anything, not always about their treatment. I look out books and leaflets for the patients if they ask and make cups of tea and coffee. I try to be as useful as I can be.

What do you think is the main difference you make as a volunteer within a hospital?
Patients are pleased to talk to someone here not involved with their treatment. Today I was speaking in Italian to a lady who had just been for her treatment — when she left she said she felt relieved now, she felt it was good for her to have some tea and a chat before she left.

What drew you into volunteering with us?
I had some help when I had cancer and I just want to give something back now. To show others some hope and provide positivity.

What’s your life mantra?
What you give to life, life gives you back three times more.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering at one of our hospitals?
With a little time you can make a big difference.

If you were on a desert island, what disc, book, and food would you take?
Disc: Ambient music; book: Greek mythology; food: lasagne.


 

Meet David

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Name
David Carleton

Which hospital do you volunteer at?
Charing Cross

What is your volunteer role?
Supporting the medical and nursing staff in the smooth running of the prostate cancer clinic.

What do you think is the main difference you make as a volunteer within the hospital?
A point of reference to patients at a very stressful time for them. Helping staff with various tasks so they can get on with their medical and nursing duties.

Why did you start volunteering with us?
I am a surviving cancer patient and have been there and done it, so I can relate to the anxieties and stress, for both the patients and their supporters.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering with us?
Working with a close-knit, professional, conscientious and caring team. Being part of a large volunteer group who all care and always give their best for the hospital.

What have you learnt whilst volunteering?
That having someone be there is a great support at a difficult time, for patients and partners/parents/children and carers. Patience and always be in good humour.

What’s your life mantra?
Keep doing all things to the best of your ability.

Tell us something that you do (or did!) outside volunteering
Having been given the all-clear after my cancer treatment, I did something that I had always wanted to do — I qualified as a scuba diver and became an assistant instructor.

If you were on a desert island, what CD, book and food would you take?
CD: The Essential Robert Johnson; book: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller; food: spices so that I could cook any Keralan food, especially a crab curry.