It’s Volunteers’ Week! So what better topic for our blog post than to celebrate the wonderful people who offer their time and energy to support us in bringing sunshine to the lives of our wish children?
This year, as you may have seen on our Twitter and Facebook feeds, we were the very proud charity partners of the BMW PGA tour. This was a huge event so we were incredibly happy to have support from corporate volunteers from Salesforce, Peel Hunt, Morgan Stanley and Ingenious, along with our individual volunteers and some lovely wish families. All of our volunteers’ help and enthusiasm was invaluable and they helped us to deliver the Rays of Sunshine message throughout the event, from greeting people with a smile at the car park entrances, to being on hand in the welcome pavilion and Championship village with information, and even out on the course in their sunny yellow t-shirts!
Volunteers also join us on our regular hospital days in both Manchester and London. Melissa Vandermolen, who leads the London days, is responsible for all of our hospital day activities, from glass painting to teddy bear making, Melissa always brings her positive energy and smiles to events… There’s so much more to say about both her and our hospital days… so look out for a future post dedicated entirely to them!
Melissa is part of our amazing team of permanent volunteers, some of whom support us by actually working on wishes. We asked Gill Begnor (who has been volunteering with us for around 8 years), what her favourite thing is about us as a charity and her response shows just how well our volunteers fit in to the Rays of Sunshine family:
“I love the way they create happy memories for the whole family in the midst of what can be very dark times – the fact that the wish genuinely lights up their lives and gives them something special to look forward to, and back on.”
Gill was inspired to volunteer for us when she saw photos and videos of “all those happy little faces when their wishes were granted.” – definitely a means of inspiration that fellow volunteer Claudia Allan had in mind as a founding member of Rays of Sunshine!
Claudia’s favourite thing about working with Rays of Sunshine is“getting to know the wish families and experiencing their joy whilst on the wish” and Claudia has arranged some wonderful wishes, from London shopping sprees to film premiers and even celebrity meet and greets!
Given the chance, both Claudia and Gill would wish to meet celebrities (Stevie Wonder and Hugh Grant, respectively), it seems that meeting your idols is a wish that stays with you for life!
For Alice Halstead, the inspiration to volunteer came from having been one of our Wish Children herself:
“I know how important it is to have a rays of sunshine wish granted and believe every seriously ill child should be given that opportunity! I appreciate how special it is to be a part of the Rays of Sunshine family and ensure I give every wish I coordinate 110%.”
When we asked her favourite thing about Rays of Sunshine, Alice’s response again summed up all of our feelings about working for Rays of Sunshine and showed how important, involved and connected to us our volunteers are:
“The memories created, the family feel and the opportunities and magic they give to thousands of seriously ill children and their families! They are a life changing charity!”
As a charity, we feel very lucky to have such brilliant and committed volunteers working with us to grant magical wishes, so, on behalf of all of our wish children and from all of us in the office at Rays of Sunshine – a huge thank you to all of our volunteers!