How Steve helps others

How Steve helps other by volunteering – Volunteers week 2024

Steve Thomas puts his all into volunteering – here he explains why

My name is Steve, and I was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2014. After the initial shock (which for me lasted a couple of years) I decided to volunteer to help newly diagnosed people come to terms with their condition.

My volunteer work has moved on from speaking to people newly diagnosed and now includes speaking with people on a befriending service with The MS Society, which includes 12 weeks of calls lasting approximately one hour each time. I am now speaking with my 20th person and have been doing this for over five years. I volunteer to operate a oxygen therapy chamber, work as a volunteer at a MS day centre and have hosted a men’s weekly peer pod for MS-UK.

I have been volunteering with MS-UK for 12 months. I was asked to host the men’s peer pod and while on a call I mentioned a possible charity event I would like to do – walking up The Gherkin in London. MS-UK made this dream happen and me and 25 others completed the event in October 2023. It was a massive success and is now happening again in 2024. I love coming up with new fundraising ideas that challenge myself in a new way and MS-UK assist with my crazy ideas! I hope that my challenges help people to see that by making adjustments, more can be achieved than they think.

I love volunteering with MS-UK because they have a personal touch, unlike many other charities. MS-UK work to help people with MS live their lives to the full. I like the way the charity helps people with what they can do and explains the details on multiple subjects in a clear concise manner. This may be through New Pathways magazine, Choice’s information booklets, The Let’s Talk MS Podcast, their Helpline, or their Online Activities. All of these are supplied in a professional and caring manner.

While volunteering is about either raising funds or helping directly, it brings massive benefits for me. I have said many times, I do not regret having MS as being diagnosed has led to me meeting so many amazing, brave and inspiring people who I now call friends. The first person I ever spoke to on the befriending service now volunteers on the MS-UK peer-pods, and I can say I am so proud of all she has achieved, which includes fundraising and driving for a disabled racing team. If I leave a legacy, I would like it to be I helped people achieve more than they believed they could and to raise awareness on MS to the wider public.

If anyone is thinking about volunteering, and I understand that people new to it may not feel confident in their abilities, I will honestly say that the support provided by MS-UK is amazing. Anyone can expect advice and support, and this will continue all the time that you are volunteering. On a personal note, helping people is amazing, just being able to assist someone directly or indirectly is very fulfilling.

I read a piece which sums up volunteering perfectly for me – wealth is not about what you have but is about what you give. I consider myself a very wealthy person thanks to MS-UK and the amazing people that work there.