This National Volunteer Week (16-22 May) we celebrate our amazing Cancer Council SA volunteers who make our lifesaving work possible. Volunteers like Sophie Hughes, who found new purpose when her son Sam passed away from melanoma in 2015. The devastating impact of losing her son gave Sophie the inspiration she needed to sign up as a Cancer Council SA Ambassador, helping others by sharing Sam’s story.
Sadly, Sophie has been touched by cancer not once, but four times. Four members of her family have passed away from cancer. But the experience that changed everything, was when her son, Sam found a mole on the back of his head in 2009.
Sophie wanted to do something—she didn’t want her son’s death to be in vain. She reached out to Cancer Council SA to ask what she could do to help.
That year, she became involved with her first Relay For Life. Sophie says the event showed her that she is not alone in her experience.
“There’s so many people going through so much and so many families like my own that have been ripped apart by cancer.”
It was from there that she knew she wanted to do more—she became a Cancer Council SA Ambassador.
Cancer Council SA Ambassadors partner with us to take higher action to promote a cancer free future in their homes, workplaces, schools, universities, sporting clubs – in fact, everywhere.
“The last time I spoke to Sam, it was a promise I made to him to make people very aware. Prevention and awareness for melanoma is now my passion,” Sophie says.
“It’s scary because before Sam got it, I couldn’t say that I knew a whole lot about what to look out for. It shouldn’t take the diagnosis of someone close to you to spark an interest in and passion about health and cancer prevention.
“I see so many people ignoring the risks of getting skin cancer and the damage the sun can do. I want to make people aware of these risks and how to prevent them. Then we can save not only the life of that person, but the heartache of the families watching their loved ones suffer.”
Annette James, Cancer Council SA’s Volunteer Project Officer, says that not only does Sophie represent Cancer Council SA by speaking at events, but she has taken on a proactive behind the scenes role of telling everyone she can how they can prevent cancer.
“Early on, when she joined us, every birthday or Christmas present she gave, there was a tube of sunscreen in there.
“She doesn’t just do one job for us and that’s it. She lives it. She’s in it for the long haul.”
Cancer Council SA’s work simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of volunteers, like Sophie. 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.
If you’d like to volunteer with us register on the website here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org