Psychologist Sophie Aplin has volunteered at both of our recent London Marathon receptions, welcoming runners and their families and helping to co-ordinate showers and massages.
The 26-year-old from Nottingham says it’s important to give something back to the community and make a difference.
“I have never been the most athletic of people,” she says, “So all the marathons are out of the question!
“However, those runners and cyclists could not be there if it wasn’t for the volunteers that help the smooth running of the events.
“I also think it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet new people from a variety of different backgrounds and feel part of a team.”
Two very important people in Sophie’s life have been diagnosed with bowel cancer and are both at different stages in their recovery.
“I am thankful for the medical treatment they have both received,” Sophie says. “It was a time when I felt I could do very little for either of them, other than to provide emotional support.
“So for me it is now time to give back to a charity that supports not only the person but their wider family network. I wanted to get involved with the charity to increase awareness and hopefully contribute to campaigns for higher quality treatment and early diagnosis.”
Sophie says she really benefits from the sense of giving something back: “I feel proud to be part of a community that is working hard to make others’ lives better. Everyone you meet is there for a reason and it is lovely to be part of a kind supportive network.
“It provides me with a good work life balance and really makes me feel I am doing something worthwhile with my weekends. I don’t think words can really do justice to how you feel when you volunteer. I’d just encourage everyone to go out and give it a go for themselves.
“It’s not always about taking part in sporting events, although I have the utmost respect for those who do.
“Those with big hearts, who also give up their time to cheer on, usher or meet and greet also have a massive impact on others, their time will always be valued.
“I was nervous the first time I walked up to a cheer point. But as soon as I was there the nerves just vanished and were immediately replaced with a sense of pride and importance. The team at Beating Bowel Cancer have been amazing. I have never looked back!”