This week, 9-15 May, is National Volunteer Week, and volunteer Denise Judd from The Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Program is pleased to be among more than six million Australians being recognised.
Denise is a devoted volunteer who decided to offer her time and insight to the Choices program due to her own experience with cancer.
“I volunteer for Choices because I believe the program offers an invaluable support service to women (now men also) and their families which is not available anywhere else in Australia", Denise said.
In addition to clinical services, the Choices program offers patients the opportunity to be able to sit down and just talk and ask questions from someone who has first-hand knowledge of cancer and knows what to expect. This service is also offered to families of patients who often have a whole different set of fears to that of the patient.
“Choices has a safe, welcoming, warm, totally unthreatening atmosphere, where you are encouraged to ask questions, verbalise your concerns and seek information which is offered in a friendly, calm yet professional manner", Denise said.
Denise sees her main role as that of listener and if possible comforter. She also enjoys helping women choose a suitable wig from the wig library and suggesting programs they might consider taking part in.
“Most (patients) come in anxious, distressed and worried and it is wonderful to see them leave, perhaps only hours later, relieved after talking to a staff member or volunteer”.