Our Counterpart Volunteers
Our peer support and program support volunteers are integral to the Counterpart service. The contribution, knowledge, and experience of our volunteers have ensured Counterpart is able to provide the most responsive supportive care possible in a safe and welcoming environment.
Peer support is the cornerstone of our service; it validates the immeasurable value and power of shared experience in making a difference to people’s lives and capacity to deal with the impact of cancer. The volunteers, many of whom have themselves faced a gynaecological or breast cancer, are able to help normalise people’s experiences, listen to their fears and uncertainties, discuss ways to cope and adjust to living well after a cancer diagnosis. Just by being themselves, they become role models for many of the women using our services.
Get to know some of our volunteers
Read their personal stories here.
Feel Good Gentle Exercise Program Instructor
Having breast cancer has presented me with so many opportunities to meet so many amazing and courageous women. When Counterpart was in the planning stages, little did I think when I suggested that an exercise program should be part of Counterpart that I’d actually be the one conducting the Feel Good sessions! It’s a privilege to be a small part of the lives and rehabilitation of the special women who come to the sessions, regain their health and strength, restoring confidence in their bodies. It is also rewarding to hear that so many have enjoyed the sessions, picked up some valuable information, and are living life with renewed enthusiasm, joy and laughter.
Peer Support Volunteer
I know how isolating it can be following a diagnosis of breast cancer. Despite being surrounded by family and friends, it is different to be talking to someone who “has been there before”. This was my main motivation for joining Counterpart as a volunteer. If I can make a difference to even just one woman as she deals with her breast cancer experience, then I have served my purpose. I have been a volunteer for 3 years now and still get excited each time I am rostered on duty.
I treasure the opportunity to talk on the phone or face to face with other women as they avail of the services that Counterpart provides. My biggest surprise was being the recipient of the 2008 Australia Day Awards given by the Child Support Agency, where I was working at the time. It was in recognition of my significant contribution to the Australian community through my volunteer work at Counterpart. I didn’t think they noticed what I did on days off. After that, I had colleagues approach me either on behalf of themselves, a family member or a friend, seeking information regarding breast and gynaecological cancers. It provided many opportunities to be an unofficial ambassador for Counterpart.
Peer Support Volunteer
My first contact with Counterpart was shortly after my own diagnosis, when I came in off the street one day and found myself literally embraced by a group of warm, sympathetic women. They allowed me the space to speak freely about my chaotic emotions and helped me gather information about how to talk with my then adolescent son, one of the more tangible problems that I faced at the time.
For me, becoming a Counterpart volunteer was a means of acknowledging that breast cancer will always be a part of my life and of making that fact a positive one. I hope I have been able to give back to others some of that sense of empathy, access to information and of being a part of a real community of women.