Following treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Mario started volunteering at a Macmillan information centre.
His role has helped bring purpose to his life and to give something back to Macmillan.
'The best thing for me is giving other people with cancer something that I didn’t have.'
In 2009, I saw a newspaper article about a new Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre that was looking for volunteers. I thought that it would be just right for me. Because I've been through cancer myself, I find that I can really empathise with people as I've had a lot of the same concerns.
I do a little bit of everything; meeting and greeting people who come in, directing them to the right source of information or signposting them in the right direction for support if I can do so. I also do a lot of application forms for people, either for Macmillan grants or for Disability Living Allowance. The DLA forms are horrendous and its just one less thing for people to worry about. Probably about 25% of the people we see are looking for advice and help with financial issues, such as getting the benefits to which they are entitled.
Volunteering for Macmillan has really made a difference to my life. The best thing for me is giving other people with cancer something that I didn't have. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from being able to do something to help people, doing something positive in a negative situation. It has also really helped me to get my confidence back after my treatment.
I get a lot of satisfaction from my role and I felt very honoured to receive an award given for helping people. For someone to take the time to put me forward meant an awful lot.
I can't imagine a world without Macmillan – not if I have anything to do with it, anyway.