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Diary of a Butterfly Volunteer by Tanya Cotter

28th April 2018

The first time I heard about the Anne Robson Trust was when I read an article posted by a local newspaper on Facebook. I was so moved by the content that I applied to become an ART Butterfly Volunteer seconds after reading it. Although I knew that the NHS was stretched and had limited resources, it really shocked me that there were people dying alone.

Shortly after applying, I was sent an application form to complete and was very pleased to find out that I had been invited for an interview. Meeting Liz and Jo was so inspiring and made me feel even more drawn to volunteer, so I was over the moon when I was asked to join their team!

The morning of the training day, I was feeling somewhat apprehensive but as soon as I arrived and met the team and other new ART Butterfly Volunteers, I immediately felt at ease. The training gave us an opportunity to hear first-hand experience from a variety of people who are directly involved with supporting patients with End of Life care, as well as the chance to work in groups to discuss our thoughts and what we may find challenging. I found each session really insightful and although emotional at times, by the end of the day I felt much more prepared and proud to be part of such an amazing organisation.

Dying can be deemed as a taboo subject to bring up in conversation. Even though it is something that will happen to all of us, we very rarely speak about it, which in turn can mean that many people have no idea what will happen to us during our last moments and feel totally unprepared for when we die.

For me, being given the opportunity to visit patients nearing their end of life and provide support for them and their families is an absolute privilege.  I feel honoured that by volunteering, I will be able to make a positive difference in what can be such a difficult time.

I am very much looking forward to my first shift as an ART Butterfly Volunteer, and will be writing about my experiences to share on this website so others understand how it works, and how much the scheme is needed across the country.

Thank you for reading this – and keep an eye out for my next post!

Tanya x



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