Volunteers Week 2020
Here at KOAC, we see that volunteers are the life of any charity and as it is Volunteers Week we thought we would get back in touch with some of our amazing volunteers and ask them about their experience with KOAC.
We spoke to Owain, Rachael and Tomos who have all volunteered for us to find out what made them want to get involved and their experience of helping KOAC.
I joined the World Record Attempt to support a friend whose partner was playing in the event. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but over the course of the week, I was amazed at how much I got involved both physically and emotionally.
Seeing the players throughout the week (nearly every day) made me want to do everything I could to support them. There were so many highs and lows, seeing the morale change throughout the week and the immense strength all involved had.
I probably cried more in that week than I have in a long time, sometimes thinking about the reason we were all there, but sometimes because I felt bad that I couldn’t take away the aches and pains. It was also tears of pride, watching these people, most of who had never met before put everything into raising money for others.
I did a lot of early morning shifts, which weren’t the easiest, but it was nothing compared to what they felt, and it was amazing to see everyone rallying around to help. There were moments, where despite all the organising, things did not quite go to plan – but thanks to the amazing team of volunteers behind the attempt it all worked out in the end. It was an amazing event to be a part of and I am so proud that I was involved.Rachael
Where do I start with Kicking Off Against Cancer? To be part of this amazing charity and be called a volunteer for it is a great achievement. Raising money for a great cause but at the same time, feeling like they gave something back last year through the World Record Attempt of playing football for 169 hours.
People thought I was nuts when I volunteered, I hadn’t met any of the trustees or players before, but it genuinely feels like I met a second family in the fellow volunteers that took part and helped during the week and I am extremely proud to have met them all. It has inspired me to want to do more and run some of my own events, which shows what can be done from volunteering for a worthy cause.Owain
I was, by far, the youngest person to set foot inside the Dome on that Sunny Sunday evening. Quite nervous, as I was, when I realised I knew literally nobody there after talking it up for the months that came beforehand. I remember vividly being partnered with Steve Ellis at the back, the oldest man with us (but not too old, of course!) and if that isn’t proof that age is just a number, either way, then I don’t know what is. By no means was I in a physical condition you would consider fit enough to even think about breaking a world record, yet here I was against the odds amongst a group of lads I had never met before, miserably failing to touch my toes in the warm-up! (We were doing yoga)
Signing up for the attempt was a no-brainer for me, it was actually through my job as a radio DJ at GTFM that I heard about it through an email asking me if I could interview Ben Banks (KOAC trustee) on air to help promote the attempt. At the time, my Grampy was a prostate cancer sufferer, and I knew I would be running the Cardiff Half Marathon the same year but I needed to go that extra step to do something extraordinary! Unfortunately, my Grampy passed away just weeks before the attempt; I so badly wanted him to know I had tried to write myself into the history books for him. Anyway, as I finished my final GCSE exam the week before the attempt, my attention turned immediately to preparing to enter the Dome. Seeing as I’m writing this for volunteers’ week, I guess I should discuss some of the experiences I remember most; they range from my first sip of beer (wouldn’t recommend Coors Light) to making friends I never thought I’d make and then telling Shem his shots found the back of the net more than Nemo! It made no sense at all, but it got a few laughs from the lads at 04:00 on a Tuesday morning!
Of course, there were moments where I struggled. I have Asperger’s, so there were times where the music or constant lack of silence would become unbearable to the point where I couldn’t play properly and there were moments where I couldn’t come to terms with having to get back on the pitch. In my two-hour break for some sleep, I would try to get an hour at most, as it took you that long to drift off! For some reason, time travelled faster than sound when you were sat on a deckchair on the sideline too. For some of the guys, red bull kept them going, for others it was the laughs, but I was just living in the moment by the time the final whistle came around! For that final hour, I was more energetic than I had been all week, and I managed to score. A tap-in it may have been, but that Sunday evening, for me, was far more enjoyable than the Sunday that preceded it.Tomos
All of our volunteers are unique to KOAC and become part of an ever growing family. We have always respected the ethos that whilst money helps us do what we do, it should not be valued above someone giving us their valuable time and we are extremely grateful to anyone that has volunteered to help KOAC. We look forward to getting back to some form of normality, meeting new volunteers and going back to helping those suffering from cancer.