Volunteer Spotlight - Belinda Peden

I felt a strong need to try to give back to the Mark Hughes Foundation when one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2016. While technically not volunteering, I set out to run the Sydney marathon for my dear friend with a promise that we would raise as much money for MHF as we possibly could. It was through running to raise money for MHF that I met MHF's amazing Sharyn Rogers. I actively began volunteering in 2017 as a way to try to repay MHF for the incredible support they provided to my dear friend and her family through Sandy, one of the Brain Cancer Care Coordinators who is an absolute angel on earth. The truth is even if I volunteered for MHF every day for the rest of my life, I would not be able to repay the Foundation for what they did.


It is an absolute privilege to volunteer for MHF, to be a tiny part of an army of volunteers that give their time and their energy towards the cause of helping to support people with brain cancer and their loved ones and raising money to fund vital research into better treatments with the ultimate goal of curing brain cancer. One of the reasons MHF have so many volunteers is because Mark, Kirralee, Sharyn and the team genuinely appreciate every single volunteer for what they do for the foundation. In addition to the incredible tangible work MHF does, the Foundation also provides the intangible gift of hope. Hope of survival against the odds - Mark is a beacon of this hope. And hope in the form of contributing towards helping others after the loss of a loved one. But probably the most powerful thing MHF does is make people feel like they aren't alone, like they are part of a large, caring and motivated movement. The power of this cannot be overstated.


I absolutely love every opportunity to volunteer for MHF, from unloading boxes of beanies from the shipping containers, packing beanies to send across Australia, setting up for the annual ball, selling beanies at the beanies for brain cancer NRL round, selling raffle tickets at events, and running to raise money, but my absolute favourite was having the privilege to represent MHF at the kick for cash at half time in the NRL game during beanie for brain cancer round. I was so nervous but it was the biggest buzz when I managed to catch some of the balls after looking long odds aft the first couple. While my heartfelt motivation for volunteering for MHF has been and continues to be, to give back, the reality is that volunteering has been very rewarding for me and a great source of healing. I will continue volunteering for MHF for as long as they will have me.


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