We sat down with William Bruce, Cancer Connect Volunteer, to find out more about his role.
What does your role involve?
Via CCQ I have contacted men around the country who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer who wish to discuss the treatment and side effects that I experienced, such as brachytherapy.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am 72 years of age, and a retired Public Servant (Qld Government). I am also a licenced Electrical Fitter / Mechanic. I am married and have 3 children – 1 girl and 2 boys (one is profoundly deaf). I am also an active member of the local Prostate Cancer Support
Group. My treatment was completed over 4 years ago. I enjoy camping and fishing.
Why did you decide to get involved with CCQ?
Everyone I talked to said that when they were diagnosed, they had no support, and no one to talk to regarding the treatment options and associated side effects. It was because of this, that when I went into the Townsville Office of CCQ to make a donation, I was invited to be a Cancer Connect Volunteer. I have never regretted this decision.
What do you love most about your volunteer role?
I really appreciate making contact with other men who have been diagnosed, and who wish to discuss the type of treatment I experienced. They have stated they have no one in their peer group to talk about the issue – in fact most men don’t want to talk about prostate cancer. I also try to get the message out that help is readily available via CCQ.
What has surprised you in your role?
It appears to be quite common around the country that men are not comfortable in discussing prostate cancer with their peers and most men are referred to
surgery as treatment option.
What has been the most inspiring or memorable moment you’ve had since starting with CCQ?
My very first contact was with a gentleman from Victoria, who came from a Middle Eastern country. As I had no knowledge of Middle Eastern culture, I treated
him like an Aussie. We had a very fruitful discussion, and a good laugh after the nitty gritty was out of the way. I was even invited to visit him if I ever visit Victoria.
What is your hope for the future? What do you hope your volunteering will achieve for cancer and CCQ?
My hope is for a cure to be found for all types of cancer, and this cure to be affordable to all. I have lobbied all major political parties in an endeavour to have the MRI for prostate cancer to be more affordable. From 1st July the Medicare rebate will cover the majority of the cost of an MRI for prostate cancer. I hope that by being a volunteer I can increase awareness of the disease in the community, and to get the message out that there is help and someone to talk to regarding their concerns. I have supported CCQ at expo’s in Townsville in an endeavour to get the message out there.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about volunteering with CCQ?
Go for it. I would definitely recommend being a volunteer, as the experience is very rewarding. The initial training is very thorough and relevant, and you get to meet lovely people who have either been there or are willing to assist others through the journey. Annual refresher training is beneficial and helps to reinforce the duties and obligations of a volunteer.