My name is Jane Cassidy, I’m a 34 year-old mother of two and I live in Hereford. I’m currently completing an Access to Higher Education course, with the view to studying Politics and Sociology in September at university. I volunteer for a few different charities, but began my volunteer work with Breast Cancer Haven this spring.

Volunteering at Blossom fashion show
My first role as volunteer with the Hereford centre was at their annual Blossom Show at Hereford Shire Hall. I was, with another volunteer, given the responsibility of running the pre-order drinks table. It was a ridiculously fun night, all of the other volunteers were super friendly and helpful and there was an instant feeling of camaraderie amongst those involved in the evening.

The atmosphere in the Shire Hall that night was one of electricity and complete awe of the women taking part in the fashion show, all of whom were currently living with, or have had, breast cancer. It was an extremely emotive evening, but one which I left feeling totally inspired. The amount of work, commitment and love that had gone into the organising and producing of the show, quite frankly blew me away.

My own experience of breast cancer
In 2012, I myself was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I was 26 and mother to a seven year-old daughter at the time. It was and still is, the single most terrifying and darkest period of my life.

The main feeling I remember of my entire battle with cancer, was how utterly alone I felt. I had incredible family and friends around me, all of which supported me immensely, but unless you are going through or have been through cancer, your experience of it is still one of an onlooker. That’s what Breast Cancer Haven offers women with breast cancer, which is so crucially important - unity. Not only is it a place where you can join in complementary classes or have one-to-one counselling sessions with trained and experienced professionals, but it is a place for other women, just like you, to connect and support one another. These amazing women can identify with your fears and vulnerability, the drastic changes in appearance due to treatment and, therefore, they can support your journey in a way no one else can and you in turn theirs.

Being a part of Breast Cancer Haven
Being able to say I’m a part of this charity, even in a very small way, has given me a huge sense of pride. To witness what the charity achieves weekly, with its numerous amounts of events and donations is staggering, but also when I’ve spoken to some of the women who have come to rely on its facilities and have made such important friendships and connections through its work, it’s clear to me just how vital and necessary it is for women affected by breast cancer, to have such a place. No one should go through breast cancer feeling alone and Breast Cancer Haven ensures this should, and will never be the case.

If anyone was considering a volunteer position, I couldn’t recommend Breast Cancer Haven highly enough. As a volunteer you feel welcomed and appreciated and you’ll meet some extraordinary people. You’ll feel like you’re helping to make someone’s experience of breast cancer, even in a small way, that little bit brighter. Caring and kindness are the greatest gifts you can give anyone and Breast Cancer Haven has it by the truckload.

If you've been inspired by Jane's story and would like to find out more about volunteering at Breast Cancer Haven, you'll find lots of information here.