When we think about volunteering, we often picture event volunteers selling tickets or directing traffic. While these volunteers are very important to the Society, there is also a different way of volunteering with HSC: helping the national office.
“We often have folks reach out to us who have extra time after school, during leaves from work and more who just want to help out,” says Tiffany Nobes, HSC’s Communications Coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity for them to further develop their office skills or keep current while off work and make a difference for the HD community.”
For Nicole Patterson, volunteering with HSC has been a part of her life since she was young as she volunteered with the Toronto Run for HD through her childhood. Now studying at the University of Waterloo, Nicole volunteers as often as her busy school schedule allows, but this time at the HSC National Office in Kitchener. Nicole helps with social media, website design and content creation.
“Volunteering with HSC is the perfect way for me to be able to do my part, while still being able to keep up with school,” says Nicole. “It is an amazing opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. As we get closer to finding a cure, the hope that one day we can eliminate this disease is inspiring.”
Similarly, Allison Bush from Ottawa volunteers with the HSC National Office remotely through being a part of the stakeholder group, assisting with the clinical trial map and helping to edit the YPAHD website. When her mom, Diane, was diagnosed with HD four years ago, Allison was with her every step of the way through her clinical trial processes. She identified improvements that could be made in the clinical trial process and the information available about them.
“I like the research and clinical trial aspect,” says Allison. “The clinical trial experience is something that is new and scary for a lot of families, so I wanted to be more involved and see how I could support my family – and other HD families – better and be a stronger advocate.”
With more clinical trials being developed and research becoming more promising, Allison is excited to continue being a part of this process for HD families.
While it may not seem like the traditional method of volunteering, Allison and Nicole have both found ways to be involved that align with their skills and availability.
“Follow what you’re passionate about, and apply that to volunteering,” says Allison. “There are so many different ways to get involved, it could be small but it is still something. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone.”
National Volunteer Week is April 15-21. We are taking the time to celebrate and thank all of our dedicated volunteers in the HD community! We appreciate the contributions of time and effort from all of our incredible volunteers.