National Volunteer Week (18-24 May)


As we celebrate National Volunteers’ week, we want to say THANK YOU to all our amazing volunteers for all the work they do to support our organisation, and most importantly the MS community.

National Volunteer Week

Their skills, knowledge, time and effort have had a direct and positive impact on the lives of people living with MS. Some of our services could not be delivered to the community without your support.

  • Over 1,600 people volunteered their time to support people living with MS last year

  • 140 presentations were given by 54 MS Ambassadors

  • 68,157 hours were volunteered at MS Community Shops with 43,653 items donated to shops across the country

  • 824 people spent 4,500 hours volunteering at MS events

  • 405 people volunteered for the Community Visitors Scheme through MSL, totalling 12,459 visits to older people in the community needing friendship and connection

We sincerely thank you and hope you feel appreciated this National Volunteers Week. 

To hear directly from some of our volunteers, read their stories below. 


Volunteer stories

Yvonne Hayes
MS Community Visitors’ Program
Yvonne Hayes


I joined the Community Visitors Scheme in mid-2014, when I was coming back to work part-time after having my first child. Volunteering seemed like a rewarding activity to do with my 1-year-old.

My grandparents died when I was very young, so it was a precious thing to have a friend in that generation. Our visits gave me great perspective on things. The daily struggles of a young mum were softened through the lens of 90-plus years of living.

In 2015 I had a second child. Joyce kept saying that I needn’t continue visiting if it became too difficult, but I wanted to and did manage to keep up the visits. → read more

Lois Honeychurch
MS Community Visitors’ Program
Lois Honeychurch


West Gippsland’s longest serving CVS visitor Lois Honeychurch recently moved into the Aged Care Home in Traralgon where she has been visiting as a community visitor for the last seventeen years. Her husband Alf explained that she was regretfully retiring from the CVS at the age of 82.

Lois Honeychurch (pictured below in her new home) first volunteered for the Community Visitors Scheme in 2003. Her first match lasted for ten years ending with the recipient’s death in 2013. She then went on to have a total of ten matches over the course of seventeen years. In addition, Lois also became an active volunteer for the Aged Care Home where she was a CVS visitor as well. → read more

Danni
MS Community Visitors’ Program
Cristelle Denney


At 100 years of age, playing chess, and having weekly outings at his local favorite Coffee shop, would not have been possible for Russian born Anatole, without his MS CVS Volunteer Danni.

The MS Community Visitors’ Program introduced Volunteer Danni into Anatole’s life 2 years ago, at the request of his daughter Helen. Anatole’s’ social needs could not be meet by the activities at the recommended local community center for the elderly and daughter Helen contacted the MS CVS Volunteering program for a volunteer to provide social support and alleviate the increasing loneliness and isolation her father felt. → read more

Cristelle Denney
TAS MS Ambassador
Cristelle Denney


"I have benefited emotionally more than I have given. That is the beauty of volunteering"

"When I was first diagnosed my neurologist suggested I contact MS. I found the support and encouragement I received very reassuring at such a difficult time. I found much changed at this time. The way I lived and worked. Friends and family relationships. The MS community was supportive. When the opportunity arose to be able to be a contributor I was both pleased, honoured and nervous. Quickly I found volunteering gave me the opportunity to contribute to the community and be apart of something that was bigger than me and assist in the empowerment of others. ” → read more

Denise Gemmill
MS Peer Support Volunteer
Denise Gemmill


'10 Amazing Years of Volunteering at MS'

Denise has been a Peer Support Volunteer at Multiple Sclerosis Limited (MSL) since 2009. Since this time, she has provided hundreds of hours of support to people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and their families. Despite having MS, herself Denise is able to put aside her own personal challenges to provide support to others in the community.” → read more

Nigel
Ambassador Program, Peer Support Program, and Fundraising Events
Nigel


Nigel lives with MS and first became involved in the MS Community after hearing about the MS Ambassador Program in 2002.

Nigel has continued to support MS as a volunteer through the Ambassador Program, as well as the Peer Support Program, and in Fundraising Events.” → read more

Justine and Maria
MS Gong Ride
Justine and Maria


Justine has been volunteering in the MS Gong Ride with her mum Maria since 2015, after Justine was diagnosed with MS.

Justine had a sudden and confronting encounter with MS. At the peak of her life she lost her vision, experience debilitating nerve pain, muscle stiffness and was in a desperate search for answers!” → read more

Susan Abbey
MS Peer Support Volunteer
Sharon Reading


'10 Amazing Years of Volunteering at MS'

Susan has been a Peer Support Volunteer at Multiple Sclerosis Limited (MSL) since 2010. During this time, she has provided numerous of hours of support to people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Despite having MS, herself Susan is able to put aside her own personal challenges to provide support to others in the community.

“I became a peer support volunteer because I enjoy sharing my experience and to help people feel less alone.” → read more

Sharon Reading
MS Shop Volunteer Daylesford
Sharon Reading


Sharon has been volunteering with us for 4 years and was also a customer. Sharon said “during the 4 years I have made some lifelong friends”.

Sharon has a love of craft and is a passionate quilter and sewer and enjoys scrapbooking and making cards. Sharon does enjoy travelling including visiting her daughter in South Africa. → read more

Ken Hutton
MS Shop Volunteer Fairfield
Ken Hutton


Ken has been a volunteer with MSL for 12 months. Ken like many people have become volunteers after being a donor or a customer.

When I asked Ken why he volunteered he answered

“I was considering doing volunteer work and when dropping off some donations saw a sign seeking volunteers for a half day which suited my other demands”.

Ken, like so many of our teams, hold or have held interesting workplace roles. → read more

Stephen & Alison Morris
Client Services
Stephen & Alison Morris


Stephen & Alison Morris have been volunteering in Client Services for 25 years.

As someone living with MS, Stephen first started volunteering to make a difference to others who were worse off than him. Despite his own challenges living with the disease, Stephen has always maintained a positive attitude and sense of humour which he uses to brighten the lives of others. His wife, Alison also joined MS as a volunteer both supporting clients through visiting as well as driving them to doctors appointments and support group meetings. → read more

Maria Fry
Phone Peer Support Volunteer – Parents connecting with Parents.
Bill


Maria trained as a Peer Support Volunteer in 2004. She has been providing incredible support to other parents of children & teens with MS.

Maria will often share the various strategies she has used in supporting her daughter who was diagnosed at 14 and is now 27. Most importantly she believes it is the reassurance of talking to another parent who can relate to your situation and provide a sense of hope. → read more

MS Event Volunteers
All MS Fundraising Events
Bill

Our team of MS Event Volunteers has over 1500 active members throughout the year. Together they contribute an invaluable amount of time, dedication and skills to the 20+ fundraising events we hold annually, including the Gong Ride, MS Cycle, Mega Swims and our beloved Walk + Fun Run. In 2019 our event volunteers have already contributed over 2300 hours, assisting us in fundraising over $1.5 million dollars to support those living with MS. → read more

Gilbert
MS Gong Ride
Bill

Meet Gilbert, he's 85 years 'young' and has been supporting MS for over 40 years – first participating and now volunteering for over 25 years!

He's the Gong Ride's oldest volunteer, but there's no stopping him! → read more

Gaye Brown
MS Gift Wrapping and MS Gong Ride

Gaye first started volunteering in 2009 after her god daughter was diagnosed with MS. Gaye volunteers every year at the MS Sydney to the Gong Ride, and has also supported us with the Gift Wrapping Campaign.

She loves to volunteer and gets so much out of it - she has even made some friends whom she sees at the Loftus Rest Site each year as they hand out muffins and coffee to the Gong Ride participants. → read more

The Breen family
MS Gong Ride and Sydney MS Walk + Fun Run
Bill

"Today Sector B, tomorrow the world!"

Meet the Breens - Mark, Terri, Amy, Kate and Rhianna!

Mark first supported MS in the nineties - enjoying the MS Gong Ride as a participant. After a friend of his daughter was diagnosed with MS, Mark was inspired to get involved again, and in 2010 took part in the ride and also put his body on the line for fundraising - waxing his body for donations! → read more

The Allsop-Guest Family
BBQ Team at the Sydney MS Walk + Fun Run
Bill

Phill first started volunteering in 1998 in the MS Office, however "jumped at the chance" to man the MS BBQ at the Sydney MS Walk + Fun Run the following year - and has been doing it ever since!

Phill and his wife Lyn volunteered at the BBQ for a few years, and then their daughters Phoebe and Amy joined in! → read more

Julie Piper
MS Community Shops - Monbulk
Bill

One amazing dedicated volunteer who continues to give her time and effort in managing our Monbulk Shop. Julie (pictured far left) originally retired from retail to raise her family eventually joined our MS Shops team and brought with her great skills, a love of music and old items. → read more

Bill Hardy
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Bill

They say that finding an honest car salesman is like finding a day in Melbourne where the weather doesn’t change. Difficult.

But for Bill Hardy and Denis Bourke, the stereotype well and truly fell by the wayside when they found themselves sitting at the wheel of a brand-new Mustang Convertible GT V8 one Friday morning. → read more

Goodman
Goodman for Multiple Sclerosis
Goodman


For over ten years Goodman staff have sent a team of cyclists to Wollongong in the MS Gong ride, raising important funds for MS and the people living with multiple sclerosis. The ‘Green Machine’ team faced strong head winds this year but made it safely down the coastal roads to the “Gong”.→ read more

DOOLEYS
Always willing to lend a hand to MS
DOOLEYS


For the past six years, DOOLEYS Lidcombe Catholic Club has provided much-needed volunteer support to our office based in Lidcombe, NSW.

Every month or so we receive an email asking whether we need help in administration or the garden, and once we confirm assistance is required, a DOOLEYS staff member spends a day helping with whatever tasks and jobs need to be done.

The DOOLEYS Community Volunteering Program encourages staff to engage with the local community while lending a helping hand to community organisations.→ read more

Lendlease
Community Volunteering Day
Lendlease community day


The staff from Lendlease were at it again this year, supporting MS through their Community Volunteering Day. Lendlease has been a strong supporter of MS for the past six years, assisting by painting and carrying out general maintenance each year at the MS Studdy Centre in Lidcombe. → read more

Debra
Peer Support
Debra

“You are not alone. We are all here walking along side you through your journey”

My name is Debra Pope, and I am a Peer Support volunteer and a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Advisory Council of Victoria.

I have been an active Peer Support person since 2004. I first started with phone support. Frome there I moved into an online Peer Support moderator role with a peer chatroom called MC2. → read more

Angela
Social Support Day Program
Photo


Angela has been with us for a mere 5 weeks and in that time has pushed wheelchairs for a Social Support Day Program outing at the NGV, walked a cute little pug because it’s too hard for some people with multiple sclerosis to exercise their furry friends and now after having moved to a regional city. → read more

Beth Gibberd
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Photo

My highlights during our visits are when Brian is having a good day and opens up about his past or shows genuine happiness that we are out walking. I also love watching my daughter make strong connections with Brian and the other residents.

Our visits consist of us taking Brian outside for a walk, sometimes it's long sometimes it's only a block depending on how far he wants to go. If he doesn't feel like walking we have a coffee with him in his room and we always pop in to see some other residents. → read more

Fran Smith
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Photo

Fran is a Human resources manager who admits that her work taught her great communication skills and quite a bit about people. This, along with spending a lot of time in her youth visiting McCullouch House - an aged care home - McCullough House in Clayton - where her grandmother was the Life Governor -has given her a wonderful set of skills for communicating with older people.

After she retired, Fran found herself getting bored and needed to do something. So, she decided to become a volunteer. → read more

David Miller
Peer Support Group Facilitator – Blackburn Carers Peer Support Group
Photo


David has been a peer support volunteer since 2015. He has been attending the carers peer support group since 2006.

David supports his wife who has multiple sclerosis. He is aware of the importance of supporting carers to enable them to continue their caring role and to ensure their own physical and mental health is maintained. David has been a participant of the Blackburn carers group for over ten years. → read more

William Morison
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Photo

 

Hi, my name is William Morison but everyone calls me Bill. I was born on 5th March 1944 in Lower Hutt, New Zealand until 9th May 1997 when I moved to Australia, after both my parents had passed away, to be with my family here in Lakes Entrance.

I took up work with Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH) as a personal care worker and worked with them for 9 years until I retired at 63 mainly due to health issues and did a 4 year stint as Director on the Board of Management for GLCH. → read more

 

Terry Newton
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Photo

Terry commenced visiting Gerard, initially at an Aged Care Facility in Sunbury (a suburb where they both resided) in January 2006. Gerard at some point was transferred to Costa House in Lara where he now resides. Terry lives in Macedon and travels to see Gerard once a fortnight on his way down to his holiday house in Airleys Inlet.

Terry is an ex-school teacher and has lived with his partner Joyce for 40+ years. Stella, Terry's dog accompanies Terry on his fortnightly visits to Gerard. → read more

Sophie Stringer
PMS Peer Support Program
Photo


My name is Sophie and I have been a Peer Support Volunteer since 2013. I love facilitating our support groups and spending time with other people living with MS. I find helping people share their stories about living with MS very uplifting and humbling. I enjoy spending time together and have made some great friends along the way. → read more

Anna de Montignie
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Photo

It is in the giving that we receive!

How true are these words. The day I received a pamphlet about the MS Community Visitors Scheme in my letterbox was the day I realized that I had an opportunity to share my enthusiasm, my compassion and my overabundance of love with someone who needed them. → read more

Antonella Rizio
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Photo

I grew up in Glen Iris and I am the eldest of six children. My parents emigrated to Australia from Italy in the 1950's. They were married in 1963 and lived in Clifton Hill. i was born in 1964 and then a year later my brother was born.

Mum fell pregnant again in 1967 and that is why they moved to Glen Iris, because the needed a bigger house. My first language was Italian, as my parents didn't speak much English. We were brought up Catholic, going to private Catholic schools. → read more

Richard
Various volunteering roles
Photo


Richard has been a “Richard of all trades” helping people with multiple sclerosis get to medical appointments, pack and unpack for the big move, push wheelchairs for Social Support Day Program outings and pick up furniture from the Eastern Emergency Relief Network when the need has arisen for four years now. → read more

Lauren Heard
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Photo

I have been volunteering with the MS Community Visitors Scheme for 2-and-a-half years. I'm a qualified paramedic and work in the Latrobe Valley. I enjoy enjoy snowboarding and spends a week at Mt Hotham each year at the snow. I also have a pet miniature goat called Sheldon.

As part of my university degree, I was required to complete a number of volunteer hours and the Community Visitors Scheme appealed because of the nature of the work. Since finishing my studies, I have continued visiting as it is a wonderful community opportunity. → read more

Penni Leemans
MS Community Visitors Scheme
Photo

I'm originally from Perth but have lived in Melbourne for more than 10 years. I used to be a social worker which was a role I found to be rewarding but challenging. I moved on to working in financial planning, and have 3 young children (7, 5 and almost 2).

As we live in Melbourne without extended family, I felt that my girls were missing out on interactions with older people and I could see that when we visited my own grandmother in Perth how much they (and she) got out of it. → read more

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