Susan Barton, Meet and Greet Volunteer at Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital

Susan Barton Volunteer

Susan Barton is a Meet and Greet Volunteer at the Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital.

Why and when did you become a volunteer?

I became a volunteer in 2011 after a friend suggested I would be good at befriending people. I’ve had personal experience of cancer and was interested in helping out in that area. My husband developed Prostate Cancer 15 years ago and passed away aged just 54.
My friend looked up how to apply on the Belfast Trust website and I took things from there. I started out volunteering just a few hours a week but now help out from 9am-1pm every Monday to Friday.

What does your volunteer role entail?

My role is a Meet and Greet Volunteer. When patients arrive at the Cancer Centre, I help direct them to where they need to go, or I might take calls and direct the callers appropriately. You never know who or what might come through the doors, so every day is different.
There’s a sense of being a member of a big family here at the Cancer Centre because of the nature of the illness, and you get to know visitors who come regularly for treatment.

What is the most rewarding thing about your volunteering role?

For me, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It feels good to be able to help people and there’s a real sense of achievement. I really like interacting with patients. Visiting a Cancer Centre can be scary for some people and if I can put them at ease, when they are feeling nervous, that’s a great feeling.

What has volunteering taught you about yourself or working with other people?

I love it – volunteering and helping people. I’ve got a real sense of being committed to my role. I’ve learnt a great deal about cancer treatment and what Chemotherapy and Radiography entails. I’m also still learning about Belfast Trust – it’s a huge organisation.
The big change is that since I started working here I now think differently about what’s important in life. It’s given me a new perspective on things. I don’t dwell on stupid things as much now as I used to.

Do you feel valued as a volunteer?

I feel very much a part of the Belfast Trust family. Some patients come back and say ‘Thank You’ when I have helped them. But I feel like I am just carrying out my role. I don’t expect anyone to say ‘Thank You’, but it is nice.

What would you say to anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with Belfast Trust?

There’s a sense of great reward in helping people. Like all the Belfast Trust volunteers, I feel well looked after and supported. If you are thinking about volunteering, I’d say ‘Go for it!’.

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