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"I’m proud to be a source of support for others"

Oberuomo Odili

Oberuomo started volunteering with us in 2021. She tells us why helping people cope with the challenges of MS is so rewarding.

I joined the MS Society as Group Coordinator for the Newcastle and Gateshead Group in February 2021. I initially saw it as a daunting task considering I’d never volunteered before. But I wanted to offer my time freely to something which would make a real difference.

I chose to volunteer with the MS Society because I had a close relative who'd suffered with an undiagnosed medical condition. His symptoms included muscle weakness and coordination issues. Looking back, I think he may have had MS.

Sadly he passed on a few years later. It was more painful because, back then, I had no idea what I could do to help him. I saw volunteering with the MS Society as an opportunity to learn how I can help people cope with the challenges of having MS.

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I love volunteering

I love volunteering and it doesn’t take up much of my time. My role involves making sure the Newcastle and Gateshead Group runs smoothly. This includes:

  • overseeing the work of the other volunteers in my team
  • organising monthly catch-ups with them
  • organising monthly socials for my group members.

On average, I spend a couple of hours a week carrying out my volunteering role. I’ve changed jobs several times in the past couple of years and volunteering has never got in the way. I’d actually say the experience has helped me be more successful in my work.

Being a source of support feels really rewarding

The best part about my role is the reward of helping someone or putting a smile on the faces of my group members. It’s always a pleasure to meet up, both online and in person. And to provide a welcoming and safe space for people to share their experiences.

It’s really beneficial for people living with MS to hear stories from other people who've been or are in the same situation. No one with MS should feel alone. It feels really great to be a source of support. Either by just listening, signposting to relevant services or organising events to meet the needs of my group members.

Seeing life through the eyes of others

I’ve certainly developed my skills while volunteering with the MS Society. I’ve learnt a lot from the induction and training I received. Particularly how to handle and deal with distressing situations in an empathetic manner. I also find it rewarding to help my group's members by letting them know what help is available to them.

Volunteering has made me see life through the eyes of others and appreciate it more. I feel really grateful and humbled to be part of this huge opportunity to genuinely help others.

I’ve met so many lovely people through volunteering

I’ve met many lovely people, which is a wonderful thing about volunteering with the MS Society. I have an amazing team of volunteers who are dedicated and passionate about helping others. The MS Society staff members are a lovely bunch of people too. They're always ready to listen and help. Meeting all these people, as well as volunteers from other parts of the country, has been a great perk of this role.

I've never regretted volunteering for the MS Society and providing support for my group members. It’s been a wonderful journey so far, despite the challenges of the pandemic. I’d do it over and over again. It’s been two years down the road and I’m hoping to have many more years volunteering.