Kathryn Downton is going in to her fifth year volunteering with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada as the facilitator with the Fredericton support group, and spoke about the importance of her role.
“I started volunteering when I saw a posting just after going on leave from work as a social worker at New Brunswick’s neural-spinal medical centre. At first it was just about keeping my professional oar in. But as I got to know the group members at the meetings, the larger community through the spring walk, and the volunteers and staff at the national conferences – I began to really appreciate at a deeper level what people go through, and the courage and resilience and often great humour that goes in to wherever they are at. It’s become a privilege, not an obligation.
As someone who lives with the consequences of mTBI (concussion), another good thing about volunteering has been being with people who understand glitchy brains. Brains are really important obviously, but it’s fun and humbling and very real to be with folks who get that whatever is going on, there is more to this person, this life, than the glitch, or the depression, or the memory thing. We’re still in there, no matter what.
To someone who is thinking about volunteering, just do it. Whether you have a ‘tumour” connection or not, you’ll meet good folk and be supported by really fine staff.