Volunteers' Week - Meet Rhea, Online Support Group Leader

How long have you been volunteering with Endometriosis UK?
 
One and a half years 
  
What were your motivations for volunteering as an Online Support Group Leader?
 
My personal experience with the disease & wanting to give back to the people/charity that turned my life around. Another major reason is because endometriosis can feel like a very lonely disease so I wanted to be there for women, so they had somewhere to turn when they couldn’t reach the local support groups. A major benefit of the Skype calls is that you can join in anywhere,  you can sit there in your PJ’s, in the comfort of your home & just talk.. 
 
Why did you choose Endometriosis UK as a charity to volunteer with?
 
As it is close to my heart due to my personal experience. Also understanding what my family & loved ones went through in supporting me.. I think that it is important that everybody has support in a very private, often lonely disease such as endometriosis.
 
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
 
We have many women (& sometimes men) on our calls who are going through very difficult situations due to endo. At the start of the call they may be quiet, subdued, upset, frustrated etc but by the end of the call they are opening up & bonding with other like-minded women/men feeling the same.. They come off the call no longer feeling alone and with a sense of hope.. 
I also love some of the messages I receive after the call to say how much better they feel.. Both of these things makes it all worthwhile for me... 
 
What is the most challenging part of your role?
 
It’s frustrating that sometimes I don’t have all the answers and I can’t wave a magic wand to make it all better Also, It can be emotionally challenging to hear woman going through pain, especially when I have a sense of what they are going through..  
 
Sum up your volunteering experience in three words.
 
Rewarding / Challenging / Inspiring 
 
Is there any guidance you would give to someone who is considering volunteering as an Online Support Group Leader?
 
Accept that you don’t have all the ‘answers’. You can’t ‘fix’ every situation, but your time, knowledge (much that you will learn along the way) patience & support is sometimes all it takes to help someone.
 
Tell us about something you enjoy doing in your personal time.
 
I love the gym! I find it helps me massively with my endometriosis, both physically & mentally, especially during times of stress. I love to travel & want to see as much of the world as I can.