Brian Whittaker

A happy accident - volunteering with my local MS Society group

My involvement with my local group just sort of happened!

My wife has MS and I brought her to a weekly meeting. The idea was that I would drop her off and return for her at the end of the meeting. I took her in and socialised with a few members and before I knew it, half an hour had turned into two and a half hours.

Soon I started to spend more time there, stepping in to cover the tea and coffee making shifts and eventually taking on the role of health and safety volunteer and becoming part of the committee, taking on many diverse tasks at the group.

Lending a hand

When something needed doing, I would just naturally agree to take it on. In this way, for over 5 years I have been organising, with others, pub lunches, trips, raffles and guest speakers ranging from medical professionals to local comedians and historians, and anything from banner printing to Easter egg raffles.

Surprise award

I was very shocked when I was presented with the Shining Star award. I didn’t see what I was doing as anything more than anyone else. I just felt pleased that I managed to help in any small way, to bring a change to the members daily routine, achieve friendships, exchange opinions, learn new things, and get a bit of enjoyment.

A job well done

It was very satisfying being a volunteer because it is helping to keep our local group operating, and satisfying knowing that people with MS have somewhere to go. I am still very actively involved with my local group.

At the start I didn’t see it as doing anything extraordinary, and then my role just grew and developed. My role has been very active, hectic, and full on in keeping me occupied. It has been very satisfying and rewarding.

Helping people is the biggest reward

It is nice to be recognized, but the feeling of helping people is the most rewarding part in itself. That is why, to those considering to volunteer with MS Society, my advice is to go for it.

Remember not to treat people with MS as any different, just have a laugh or a chat with them. It really does help to add relief and fight any feelings of isolation.