Support Group Facilitator – Ajax
How did you start volunteering with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada?
“A good friend of mine, Lesley Ann Senior, was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She had undergone many surgeries and had been a long-time member of the Brain Tumour Foundation’s Ajax Support Group. The facilitator of that group wanted to retire from her role and Lesley Ann mentioned that she would like to volunteer for the position but felt that it might be too much for her. I said that I would gladly help out and I submitted my application to the foundation. I really cherish the time that Lesley Ann and I have spent together volunteering for the foundation.”
What is your fondest memory of volunteering with us?
“I remember the first time that I attended The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Facilitator Training and Information Day in London, Ontario. There were so many volunteers, staff, survivors, and family members all in one place. All there to support one another, learn from one another and inspire one another. It was the first time that I realized that I was a part of a very big family that stretched across the country.”
This year’s theme for volunteer week is Empathy in Action. What does empathy mean to you?
“It means being tuned in to people’s cues about how they are feeling and encouraging them to share their feelings. Sometimes “I’m fine” means that I’m fine and sometimes it means that I don’t feel safe telling you how I am feeling. Anger can be a particularly hard emotion for people to express and for people to hear. The support groups are amazing because the other members truly know what you are going through.”
What’s the best piece of advice you have given, or someone has given?
“It’s different from advice, but my husband shared a great perspective with me. He said, “people are flawed and that’s okay”. It really hit home for me. It seems so obvious, but it means so much. It means that we need to meet people where they are. That people are doing the best that they can and their best isn’t perfect, but that’s okay. It also means that I am flawed and that’s okay too. I think that this perspective is tied to compassion. Our world needs more compassion both for ourselves and for others.”