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How volunteering showed Maz the power of proactivity

Alice Ostapjuk

Volunteering can do wonders for your CV but one of our IconInc residents took so much more away from a volunteering opportunity, than work experience alone. Over to you Maz…

In October the leaves start to change, the wind stiffens, and the Halloween gear comes out. But to many it's also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in honour of this women all over the globe dress in pink to support the cause. I come from a family with a history of breast cancer, and it is easy for me to dread the possibility, however, I learned and saw the effects and magic of positivity.

Breast Cancer Now

Breast Cancer Now added a new photo - in London, United Kingdom.

The Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club

I once volunteered with a charity whose beneficiary was a Cancer Recovery Club based in Shanghai, and I was amazed by the extremely high recovery rate. The Cancer Recovery Club offers a three week course to recovering local, Chinese cancer patients, most of whom could barely afford treatment.

The programme is split into three parts: proactive prevention, wellness from within, and sisterhood support:

  • Part one includes lessons in Tai chi, healthy dieting, and exercise, and educates the patients about how to proactively prevent illness.
  • Part two looks at finding wellness from within, giving classes in music and dance therapy, Chinese herbs, and massage therapy.
  • The final stage of the programme provides them with support groups and psychological counselling, offering the patients support from others who understand, and have been through, the recovery process.

Overall, the programme gives the patients a holistic approach to wellness.

Miracles are hard to come by but this might possibly be one because the Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club holds a record of a 90% recovery rate from cancer (the highest in the world). They boast a count of 12,000 local Chinese members, 4,000 of which have suffered from breast cancer. The programme has also grabbed the attention of several research facilities and is currently being studied by Stanford.

The magic of proactivity

The patients I interacted with taught me how much proactivity can affect your health. One woman was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was told by US doctors that she would be lucky to have a year. And by changing her life around she continued to live for 10 more years. Something as simple as changing your diet or exercising more can do wonders. Their cheerfulness showed me that simply being happy could add years to your life! My mother herself was inspired and has changed her life around since being diagnosed seven years ago.

Thankfully, cancer awareness is ever-present in our society these days. Movember will come around soon, encouraging many to shave their facial hair and grow a tash as a show of support for prostate cancer awareness. Hair donation events will be happening too, so start growing your hair out!

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