Rise Above – Capital Region Cancer Relief has put out a call for volunteers to help with their various fundraising activities.
Formerly known as the Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group, Rise Above provides financial support for cancer patients in Canberra, Queanbeyan and the surrounding region, with tailored support to suit the patient’s prognosis or treatment program. Rise Above can provide financial assistance with medication relating to current treatment for cancer, chemotherapy, food supplements, food and petrol vouchers and electricity accounts.
Rise Above CEO Melissa Gardiner says volunteer numbers are down, with the Rise Above staff doing most of the volunteer work on top of their regular duties.
“We have six volunteers … It’s been the lowest I’ve seen,” Ms Gardiner says. “We’ve always had about 20 to 23.”
Kathy Stewart, who has been volunteering with Rise Above since March in the hospital program, says the experience of working with patients to provide assistance is incredibly rewarding.
“You speak to people from all walks of life … they are overjoyed by the amount of assistance these guys [Rise Above] can provide,” Ms Stewart says. “You’re giving back … It’s really nice to be able to help them [the patients] and make life easier for them.”
Ms Gardiner says more volunteers would enable Rise Above to raise more money for the community.
“We could have gala balls, more functions, more people at the hospital signing up patients,” she says
“A lot of people don’t know we exist,” Ms Stewart adds.
The Rise Above hospital program takes referrals and enquiries from medical staff for patients who may be in need of financial support throughout their treatment.
The charity’s biggest annual fundraiser is the Rise Above Cancer Convoy, previously known as the Convoy for Cancer Families, which takes place in April each year.
“We raise all of our money, so the volunteers help us with that fundraising,” Ms Gardiner says.
“If people are looking for something to do in their spare time … it’s so rewarding. We take everyone from students to retirees.”
The Rise Above staff also volunteer their time for events and fundraisers because “you can’t expect people to volunteer their time if you don’t volunteer yours”.