“When I stood at that first bucket collection, I never thought it would come this far”
2nd Jun 2021
After Jake lost his stepdad Paul to acute myeloid leukaemia, he was determined to volunteer to help others affected by blood cancer.
The afternoon of 12th June 2017. That’s when my stepdad, Paul, was admitted to the hospital just weeks after first showing symptoms of blood cancer. He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), and that’s when my life changed forever.
Not long after, we got in touch with Blood Cancer UK who provided Paul and my family with exceptional support while he was receiving treatment.
This support was invaluable to us, and it was then that I realised I could do something positive that would both help me to cope with the thought of losing my best friend, whilst helping others too.
Me and my younger brother, Max, were really on our own when it came to dealing with Paul’s diagnosis.
I found it incredibly hard being just 12 at the time. There was limited mental health support available at my school, with just one part-time counsellor for 1300 students at my school. This meant I only received the occasional checkup.
When Paul sadly passed away in February 2019, I wasn’t told about bereavement counselling, despite reaching out numerous times to my school for support. It wasn’t until months later that I was finally offered support. It still wasn’t counselling with a professional, but nevertheless, it was something.
After Paul’s death, I wanted to do whatever I could to help others affected by blood cancer, and to help raise money and awareness for Blood Cancer UK who had helped me and my family through such a difficult time.
I started out by doing a bucket collection at my local Wilko.
I have a very vivid memory of raising just over £200, it was definitely my happiest moment volunteering for the charity. I knew it wasn’t a massive amount, but doing something that I never thought I would really put a smile on my face.
After that, I started to really scale up with my volunteering.
In 2019 I did a sponsored leg wax with my amazing teachers, Mr Kowalczyk and Mr Mason, which was broadcasted on BBC Look East. I am now in the process of organising a local music gig ‘“Elevation” which is launching in October. When I stood at that first bucket collection, I never thought it would come this far.
I really believe volunteering for a charity is one of the best things you can do, especially when you have that personal connection to the cause.
Using your free time to help others can be a great coping mechanism when you or someone you know has been affected by blood cancer.
Charities have really struggled during the pandemic and it’s more important than ever that we volunteer and do our bit in helping them recover.
I still love volunteering today as much as I did at that first bucket collection. I’m proud to be an ambassador for Blood Cancer UK, I get work with some amazing people and wouldn’t change it for the world.
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