VOL­UN­TEERS OF THE WEEK

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community Life -

SY­BIL AND LES­LIE CO­HEN

CHAI CAN­CER CARE Les­lie and Sy­bil Co­hen vol­un­teer at Chai Can­cer Care. Les­lie, a re­tired char­tered ac­coun­tant, has been in­volved with the Hen­don-based sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tion for five years and Sy­bil started vol­un­teer­ing at Chai at the end of last year. Sy­bil worked at Park­side Health for more than 20 years Why Chai? Sy­bil ex­plains: “Les­lie had can­cer 18 years ago and thank­fully re­cov­ered. He wanted to give some­thing back and felt he would be able to re­late to clients at Chai so popped in one day and asked to vol­un­teer. When I had more time on my hands last year, and know­ing of the won­der­ful ser­vices pro­vided by Chai, I too wanted to vol­un­teer and help where I could.” What does your vol­un­teer­ing in­volve? Les­lie says: “I man the freep­hone helpline and be­friend clients which in­volves a va­ri­ety of roles from keep­ing some­one com­pany, to tak­ing them to and from hospi­tal, or to the Chai Cen­tre. I build re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple, pro­vide sup­port and lis­ten where needed. My level of in­volve­ment varies greatly from client to client, and should they be ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal I will go to visit them, not as a vol­un­teer, but as a friend.” Sy­bil adds: “I mostly help out on the re­cep­tion desk, greet­ing clients and man­ning the switch­board.” What do you en­joy most about vol­un­teer­ing? Les­lie says: “The sat­is­fac­tion and pride I feel when I know I am help­ing some­one through such dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances is im­mea­sur­able. It is a great feel­ing to know you have made a dif­fer­ence to some­one, and the ex­pres­sions of grat­i­tude from those I have helped is an enor­mous re­ward, which makes ev­ery­thing ex­tremely worth­while. You will get far more back than you give. When some­one suf­fer­ing from can­cer or a rel­a­tive or friend says how good it feels to talk, there is no bet­ter feel­ing.” Sy­bil adds: “The con­tact I make with so many spe­cial peo­ple, hope­fully rais­ing a smile and giv­ing a friendly word to make them feel bet­ter.”

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