I had cancer when I was 61, I’m 90 now. The first cancer I had was bowel cancer. They picked it up very early. I was a blood donor at the time and they told me I had very low iron levels, so I should get it checked out. The doctor, a left-handed Irishman, said if I lasted two years I will be right.
The year after I got cancer, my friend Roy Wheeler got me started on Daffodil Day. Roy had cancer and gave it away and I carried on.
I got involved because I wanted to give something back. I don’t like the idea of door-knocking and making people feel they have to give you money. When volunteering for Daffodil Day or Pink Ribbon Day, they come straight to you. Ninety percent of them just want to talk to you. It’s like a big family and I really enjoy it.
Most of the volunteers are really nice people. A lot are older, so we have a lot in common. Last year was going to be my last year volunteering as Eileen, my wife, was diagnosed with lung cancer 12 months ago. I’ve since thought, I won’t give it away – I will keep going.
When I was about 70, I was doing blood tests every three months and they picked up a second primary cancer very early. I’ve had two cancers and survived them both, so I consider myself a real survivor. The secret is picking it up early.
I started volunteering, because I wanted to give back and I really enjoy it. I’m retired, so it gives me a chance to talk to and meet people. It’s a real day out with people and I like it.
I would thoroughly recommend volunteering for Cancer Council ACT to anyone. I guarantee that if anyone does a few shifts for a few hours on Daffodil Day or Pink Ribbon Day they will come back again, because they will thoroughly enjoy it.