Cancer Council SA’s new, volunteer-led Connection Service invites guests to come together twice a week for morning and afternoon tea to help encourage social connection all while supporting the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of our guests.
Barrie Spencer is one of our dedicated Connection Volunteers who makes this service possible.
Barrie’s first encounter with cancer was when his GP identified that he had prostate cancer in the early stages.
“Cancer wasn’t something I took seriously until my diagnosis and I’m thankful for the early intervention,” he said.
While receiving his treatment Barrie stayed at Cancer Council SA’s Flinders Lodge.
“Staying at Cancer Council SA accommodation gave me an insight into the seriousness of those affected with cancer and the challengers that they face.” This experience motivated Barrie to give back and become a Cancer Council SA volunteer.
Barrie started out contacting donors, which he still does today. His generous contribution to Cancer Council SA has grown, adding Concierge Volunteer and now Connection Volunteer to his roles since the new building opened.
“I found talking with the guests helps them fill the days and sometimes weeks that they are here during their treatment.”
“The morning teas become a rather humorous period of conversation, allowing guests to reduce their stress for a period of time,” Barrie said.
“There is no doubt that Cancer Council SA has contributed to the wellbeing guests and assists them to navigate their treatment.”
Being around people who are going through the same experience is a vital part of the support offered by Cancer Council SA.
Having all our services and supports in one location enables guests to create long term friendships in a supportive environment with people who know what they are going through.
Ken Vlatko from Menindee New South Wales has been staying at Cancer Council’s Greenhill Lodge for the past 12 months while undergoing treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. He says services like the Connection Volunteers provide invaluable support.
“We’ve got somewhere to stay that’s magnificent. The staff and the volunteers are brilliant, they’ll bend over backwards to try and help you in any way possible,” Ken says.
“You get to know the people here. For nearly 12 months now, they’ve been my second family because I’ve been away so long.”
“Everyone helps each other, we all talk about our problems and being surrounded by people who are all in the same boat is a real boost. It can pull you up out of the doldrums a lot. It really helps.”
Learn more about becoming a Connection Volunteering through our available opportunities or contact firstname.lastname@example.org