This National Volunteer Week (16-22 May) we celebrate our amazing Cancer Council SA volunteers who make our lifesaving work possible. Long-time volunteer, Rob Thomas first became involved with Cancer Council SA nearly 24 years ago when his wife’s best friend, Cheryl was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was the start of a two-decade long journey which has seen Rob involved in almost every Cancer Council SA fundraiser, including Relay For Life, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and Daffodil Day. He also became a Cancer Council SA Ambassador in 2010, which involves promoting and championing fundraising events in the community.
“When we first found out my wife and I decided to do a fundraiser in Cheryl’s honour and donate the money to Cancer Council SA,” Rob explained.
When Cheryl passed away eight years ago, it strengthened his resolve even further to make a difference.
“Before she passed away Cheryl made us make a promise that we would do everything we could to make sure that no one else has to suffer through a cancer diagnosis like she did. Ever since, I’ve made sure to honour that promise,” he said.
For Rob, volunteering is his chance to do whatever he can to help an organisation that provides vital support to those when they need it most.
Rob explains what being an event volunteer involves for him, “I’ve been a driver on Daffodil Day, picking up flowers, delivering merchandise and meeting with the other volunteers. Basically, anything that I can do to help out the team during the week and on the day.”
He has also been incredibly involved in Relay For Life over the years, since participating in his first Relay in 2004, leading Relay For Life Committees and being a team captain. Rob took up the reigns as Event Lead of the 2022 Adelaide Relay For Life Committee, made up of a group of dedicated volunteers who bring the event to life and motivate teams to fundraise in the lead up.
“I’m happy to support in any way that I can. I’ve met with lots of doctors and nurses during my time and they always talk about what an amazing organisation Cancer Council is, which makes me so proud to be involved.”
“Throughout Cheryl’s treatment our motto was if we work together, we can beat this. It’s all about support and showing people that we care about them and will fight it together,” he said.
Annette James, Cancer Council SA’s Volunteer Project Officer, says that Rob has seen the value of the support Cancer Council SA provides and is really passionate about fundraising to help us do what we do.
“Rob is so enthusiastic and has a real desire to continue to help us in anyway he can. When his current role has finished, he’s always on the phone asking us what he can do next.”
Cancer Council SA’s work simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of volunteers, like Rob. By donating their time, knowledge and energy to help Cancer Council SA support vital cancer prevention activities and fundraising activities, our volunteers are helping us fund ground-breaking research and provide vital services to those who need them most.
Together, through volunteering, we are changing communities for the better. We are, Better Together.