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24 May 2021

The benefits of volunteering

To celebrate Volunteers' Week we wanted to share the benefits of being an Overcoming MS volunteer.

Benefits of volunteering

With most of us leading super busy lives, the idea of volunteering may seem an impossible task. I mean, how can we fit anything else into our already jam-packed schedules? However, volunteering is important for many reasons and doesn’t have to take up too much time. And, in fact, the benefits of volunteering are vast for the volunteer. Here are just a few:

  1. Meet new people and become part of a community
  2. Gain knowledge and understanding 
  3. Sense of purpose 
  4. Take on a challenge 
  5. A sense of giving something back

In the Time Well Spent survey (2018), the most common benefits volunteers reported were enjoyment (93%), a sense of personal achievement (90%) and feeling that they make a difference (90%). Over three-quarters (77%) agree it improves their mental health and wellbeing. 

If volunteering for Overcoming MS is something you would like to consider, click here to find out more about volunteering opportunities, or email us at [email protected].

But don’t just take it from us!

We have so many great volunteers already working alongside us to to be able to support as many people with MS as possible worldwide. Here are three Overcoming MS volunteers who explain the benefits volunteering for Overcoming MS has had for them.

Karen Costello-McFeat

It was not long after I had started my MS blog, ‘When life gives you lemons,’ that I was contacted and asked to contribute to the website. I was flattered and delighted. Overcoming MS has done so much for me that spending a little time creating a post seemed the least I could do to say thank you. And writing for the site has helped to clarify my thinking; giving me a greater understanding of what I hazily knew.

The strength of Overcoming MS lies in the enthusiasm, generosity and openness of its staff and volunteers. So go ahead. Marry your skills with the roles that need to be filled and strengthen your bonds to the Overcoming MS family. Who knows? The life you enrich may be your own. 

Lorna Greenwood

Overcoming MS has had a hugely positive impact on my life so I jumped at the chance to become an Overcoming MS volunteer because I saw it as an opportunity to give something back.

I’ve been working with Sophie and have been doing some video editing/subtitling which is something I really enjoy.

Last year was extremely challenging for everyone but I found that having something so positive to focus on  helped me, massively.

I think volunteering can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. You can help make a difference, and you can gain confidence and learn new skills along the way.

Vickie Hadge

I found Overcoming MS almost immediately when I was diagnosed in 2017 and was thrilled to have found something that fit in with my philosophy of living healthy! Yet I was still a bit overwhelmed with the diagnosis.

I started looking into support groups, you know bird of a feather flock together and I hoped to learn from the flock. At that time there were no Overcoming MS circles in my area so I started visiting other MS support groups. All of them were welcoming and the members were pleasant, but none quite fit… 

When I attended the first one, the leader pulled out a large bag of pamphlets that she had collected from doctors, MS societies, and conferences and then started handing me information on all the drugs I could take to help my symptoms. I am not anti-medicine by any stretch of the imagination but the group as a whole seemed to use a lot of pharmaceuticals to manage their symptoms.

At another I walked in to see a table full of cupcakes, chips, and sodas! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a nice treat now and again but I knew that these kinds of treats were definitely off the menu for me. Some of the members were openly critical of ‘MS diets’ and told me it would never work because they had tried them all over the years. It was a bit discouraging.

I decided to try one more and at the first (and last) meeting I attended the members were complaining and commiserating about their troubles with doctors, insurance companies, and getting aid. The negative energy brought me so low and left me worrying if my future was going to be full of similar struggles and strife.

I eventually found an Overcoming MS circle that was in a neighboring state and gave it a try. It was so refreshing to meet with others that were taking responsibility for their own health and well-being! At a lovely dinner with Overcoming MS friendly options, I heard members talk about what they were doing to help themselves and how the diet and lifestyle changes were making a difference.

Unfortunately the long drive made it difficult for me to attend so I started thinking about becoming an Overcoming MS Ambassador. I wondered if I had the experience or authority to take on this role. I had a long time friend that had been diagnosed just a year before me who was looking for something different too. She helped convince me to apply to be an ambassador.

I started as an Overcoming MS Ambassador in 2018 and I really enjoy meeting with my circle! Not everyone is following Overcoming MS, but they are all curious and looking to live well with their MS. We strive to build a community of support that is a friendly, non-judgmental and safe place where everyone feels free to contribute. No matter where we are on our MS wellness journey we encourage all members to “do whatever it takes” to live well and to be the healthiest we can be while living with MS. 

Linda Boueke

I decided to volunteer for Overcoming MS because I am so glad and thankful that I have found Overcoming MS so quickly after my diagnosis. As soon as I felt better I sort of felt obliged to let everyone know that this source of hope exists. Of course, every pwMS has to find their own way of dealing with the diagnosis, but at least they should be aware of the option to become active and confident about being possibly able to lead a full and happy life – with MS

Paul Howard

I wanted to volunteer for Overcoming MS as when I read the Overcoming MS book back in 2004, it changed my life really and gave me hope for my future after hearing my diagnosis at end of 2003! Straight away I reduced my saturated fat intake, took extra vitamins and fish / linseed oil, tried to get more sun and exercise more. I was also lucky to get the same medication as George mentioned so today I find myself virtually symptom free and can live a normal life which before reading the book, I never thought possible. 

What to join our growing volunteer team? Click here to find out more about how you could get involved.