Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who has been there and knows what you are going through.
Cancer Connect aims to connect you, your carer or your loved ones over the phone with a trained volunteer who has had a similar experience. Where a match is not available, this service will direct you to other support services.
Our support volunteers are trained and can help with:
- Support before, during, or after treatment and during recovery.
- Practical information gained through personal experience.
- Hope and encouragement, and a positive role model for recovery.
- Ideas about where to find more information.
We sat down with Kieran Cahill, Cancer Connect volunteer, to find out more about his role.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am 58, having lived in Australia off and on for the last 20 years with spells in Mallorca, Canada and England.
I married a local lady, Anne, joining a big family. Together with keeping up with friends and being a member of a 4-wheel drive club, I have an active life. Additionally, I go to an Exercise Physiologist twice a week to keep healthy and maintain my posture.
I have worked in IT for nearly 30 years doing all sorts of roles but primarily with a technical aspect within large organisations both private and government. It has been 11 years since I completed treatment for Stomach cancer and although that has left some ongoing issues and resulted in permanent physical changes I still have a normal life. Anne and I spend 2 weekends a month away either visiting family and friends or going camping with the 4WD club.
Why did you decide to get involved with Cancer Connect? What was your motivation for volunteering?
When I was going through my treatment there was a gap between my first set of Chemotherapy and the proposed Surgery. I needed to know it would be worth doing and what I could expect the outcome to be like. Although I work in IT I was sceptical about trawling the Internet and wanted to talk to someone who had been through something similar. I eventually contacted the Cancer Council 13 11 20 and they found someone in NSW I could talk to.
That was when I decided that if things went well, I would volunteer.
What do you love most about your Cancer Connect volunteer role?
Very simply helping others and giving back.
What has surprised you in your Cancer Connect role?
The number of people I have been connected to in other States. Also, how diverse/ different each person’s concerns and worries are, but how easily a shared experience finds a common understanding.
What has been the most inspiring or memorable moment you’ve had since starting with CCQ? What would you say to someone who was thinking about volunteering CCQ?
I have found this role to be very rewarding- giving hope, understanding and sharing. More often than not I get as much back as I give. Although you have to be mindful (a modern phrase) that it can be stressful, bringing back difficult memories so it may not be the best role for everyone.