Mabel’s still volunteering at 90

Posted on in Staff, Support groups

Most people would want to put their feet up and take it easy after their 90th birthday – but not Mabel McGurk.

Mabel McGurk receives flowers from Stephen Guy

Mabel McGurk receives flowers from Stephen Guy

Mabel has been a volunteer at The James Cook University Hospital since the Macmillan cancer support and information centre first opened its doors in 2006.

The great grandmother spends one day a week supporting cancer patients as they undergo treatment at the Middlesbrough hospital.

And Mabel’s kindness and compassion has not gone unnoticed – patients from the chemotherapy unit surprised her with a huge pile of gifts and cards to mark her 90th birthday and fellow volunteers arranged a special celebration event.

“I don’t feel 90, I’m sure my birth certificate must be wrong!” joked Mabel.

“Some people might want to take it easy but not me! I play table tennis twice a week and bowls twice a week as well as volunteering and I’m also on the committee for Christian Aid.

“I very much enjoy volunteering. I enjoy seeing the patients and talking to them all.”

Mabel cuts the cakeThe retired secretary has always been involved with charity work but signed up to become a Macmillan volunteer because her husband had received cancer treatment at James Cook.

“I wanted to give something back,” she said. “It’s very rewarding work and it makes me realise how fortunate I am to have my health and to be able to do what I do.

“I will keep volunteering for as long as I am able to and as long as they will have me.”

Cancer lead nurse Nicky Hand said the trust is indebted to Mabel for her contribution to cancer care: “She has energy, empathy and resilience that gives cancer patients and their families the confidence they are being supported and cared for.”

Macmillan cancer information manager Julie Taylor added: “Mabel gets lots of wonderful feedback from patients.”

Macmillan development manager Stephen Guy presented Mabel with flowers, a cake, a 90th birthday badge and a special certificate to mark the occasion.

“We do not have many volunteers over the age of 90,” he said.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a Macmillan volunteer can contact the Macmillan cancer support and information centre at James Cook on 01642 835674.