Why it’s important to recognise your volunteers

Jill Lyons, Communications and Marketing Manager with Breakthrough Cancer Research, tells us about mother and daughter volunteering duo Trish Larkin and Eimear Tynan and how the Volunteer Ireland Awards help charities give back to their volunteers.

In December of last year Trish Larkin, along with her daughter Eimear Tynan, took to the stage in Dublin City Hall to accept their award in the Campaigning & Awareness Raising category from Volunteer Ireland. Both mother and daughter are cancer survivors and dedicated volunteers with Breakthrough Cancer Research. The well-deserved award was recognition of their lengthy commitment, nearly 25 years between them, raising awareness and funds for cancer research.

They were thrilled; their family and friends were delighted; but the great appreciation my colleagues and I, the scientists in our cancer lab and our patients feel for Trish, Eimear and all our volunteers simply cannot be put into words.

As is the case for most charities, volunteers are the life blood of Breakthrough. We could not continue our vital research into poor prognosis cancers without their on-going support through street collections and fundraising events. We can write thank you notes and acknowledge their work at events. However, recognition from the Volunteer Ireland Awards is much more than a thank you. Being recognised publically for their dedication and commitment, takes a thank you to a different level and is something, we as a charity could not do on our own.

The response on Facebook and Twitter to Trish and Eimear’s success was overwhelming with message of congratulations from other volunteers, the Breakthrough community and beyond. They were also featured on RTE’s Morning Ireland as well as by a number of local Cork papers.

The Volunteer Ireland Awards are a great opportunity for charities to give back to volunteer like Trish and Eimear who give their time, their passion and their commitment so generously to help make a difference in the world.

We will definitely be nominating more of our amazing volunteers again this year!

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