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National Volunteer Week is a chance for us to recognise the vital work of volunteers and to say 'thank you' for all they do for MS Plus.

The theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week is “The Change Makers”. When you volunteer at MS Plus, you truly are changing the lives of thousands of people living with MS. This year, we are celebrating our collective power to make change, and the vital role you play in people's lives.

Our 4,000-strong volunteers provide invaluable support to the work we do in the MS community. Our ambassadors speak to their local communities. Our event volunteers bring life to our major fundraising activities. Our volunteers have visited, typed, called, packed, walked, and performed so many other duties to help the communities we work with and for. You can read some of the heart-warming stories we have collected below.

A message from our CEO John Blewonski

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we wanted to reach out and say thank you to our volunteers for all the work you do to support the MS community and everyone we work with.

Volunteer stories

Some of our volunteers share how much they've gained by giving back.

I co-facilitate the Hobart Eastern Shore MS Peer Support Group, volunteer in administration and make one on one Peer Support calls as requested - which I love doing!

Communicating and being with people who understand is one of the greatest parts of Peer Support volunteering. I believe the support and friendship we provide each other improves our well being, as well as puts a smile on our faces!

Christmas in July and Christmas lunches with peers from the Hobart Peer Support Groups are the greatest occasions with lots of talk, laughter and enjoyment had by all.

Peer support calls are very rewarding as you can feel, from the initial call to the last call, the difference you have made “just by being there and listening.”

I have met, person to person and on the phone, so many amazing people since I started volunteering with MS Plus, as well as improved my own health and well being. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested!

I volunteer at MS Plus community shop in Melton. I serve our customers and process donations at the store. I enjoy meeting new people and working with a great team of volunteers I also enjoy helping

I once helped a customer find an items she was desperately looking for we had a conversation and she told me the difficult time she was going through, I comforted her with kind words and empathy and before she left she told me what a big difference I had made to her that day it was extremely rewarding.

I first volunteered to facilitate a support group in my local area. I had been asking about a group in my area for a while as I felt like I needed to join a support group in my community. When I was told there was enough interest for a group to start, I volunteered to facilitate so the group could to come together.

We meet on the first Saturday of every month and have been enjoying going to different venues each month. We decide as a group where we meet for the next catch up. It has been great to catch up at different venues because the area is ever-expanding and there are so many places to try. While we don't always have MS related discussions, it has been great to come together as a group and understand where one another are coming from without having to explain how we are feeling because in one way or another, we get it.

I then agreed to facilitate a young persons / under 30s group via Teams because the current group was starting to expand. We catch up on the last Tuesday of every month at 7pm. It has been great to catch up and support (and be supported by) people in my age bracket. The catch ups are a mix of casual conversation of how things have been over the last month as well as particular topics that the group want to discuss like questions to ask at your neurologist appointment and tips/techniques we use to manage symptoms. We also have the opportunity to chat with key speakers like an MS Nurse which is valuable to us.

I also support others (particularly young women) in a 1-1 capacity via phone calls. It gives the other person the opportunity to speak candidly about their experiences in a safe and understanding space. I make an effort to always end the call with the other person feeling better or more understood than when they pick up the phone. I find this form of peer support particularly rewarding, especially when the client thanks me for my support and understanding.

I have really enjoyed my time volunteering as a support person because I have been able to create a space for people to come together to get support from others in a similar situation. It was something that I needed personally, but I have really enjoyed providing the same support to others.

I have used these supports myself since I was diagnosed in 2020. I have found the groups I've joined and the connections I've made so valuable especially as someone who was diagnosed during a lockdown and it was hard to see family and friends. I can't narrow down a particular rewarding moment because every moment I've spent volunteering has filled my cup. I have really enjoyed giving back to a community who has provided so much support to me.

I work at MS Plus community shop in Kingsmeadows, Launceston, I help pricing donations, doing displays of items, assisting customers with purchasing. I love working with MS as I enjoy meeting people and it's allows me to gain new skills in a supportive and friendly environment and the staff are most helpful ( as I have MS). I enjoy it most when I help a customer find that special something they will treasure. Op shopping is in my blood!

I volunteer with MS Plus in Tuggeranong for nearly seven years.

I love volunteering since retiring from previous retail work ,to give back to the community and help raise funds for research into a cure for MS Plus. I have a very happy home life and believe in giving back to the community in some small way that l can.

I also love the team l get to work with and love the interaction with people l meet during my shift.

My most rewarding moments are at end of day, knowing we had great sales going to a great cause which gives me great satisfaction.

I hope to keep volunteering for as long as my body allows.

I visit a lovely older lady who is now a dear friend and resident of an aged care facility in inner Melbourne. I see the profound impact and value that our friendship has brought to on one another’s lives. Pairing family history with my skill set for technology, I was able to locate overseas relatives who we now video call with frequently.

We found volunteering for the MS Gong Ride very rewarding as we felt we were helping this worthy cause.

We enjoyed encouraging the riders as they passed by. We appreciated the support we received from the organisers in carrying out our duties.

As marshalls, we thought it was a worthwhile activity to ensure the safety of all concerned.

Overall, it was a very good experience. We were glad that it was a successful fundraiser.

I love volunteering because I get a real buzz knowing that whether it's being an ambassador at a MS Plus event or a MS presentation I can make a difference.

My very first MS Readathon presentation to a young primary schoolgirl . This girl was the number 1 primary school child in NSw to raise the most donations. I was blown away & have never forgot it. A very rewarding moment for me.

I volunteer at the amazing MS Plus Community Shop in Mildura and have been a volunteer for nearly 6 years. My role as volunteer covers most aspects of the daily running of the store, but I’m most at home pricing bric-a-brac, putting out trolley after trolley & making some lovely displays.

I enjoy being around people & have become close with fellow team members. Knowing that with every sale we are helping people with MS and other neurological diseases lives a little easier. I enjoy interacting with customers & knowing they are leaving our shop with a smile.

Having a good manager & laughter is good for the soul.

When I started volunteering I had no retail experience or computer knowledge – now I am proud to say, I can use the register, scan and send emails, understand & enter figures onto spreadsheets, to be given the responsibility to hold a shop key & to have the confidence to open the store.

I am one of the NSW MS Plus Ambassadors, educating people about MS and its impact on me as a person, as well the impact on families. I also provide one-on-one peer support to guys (and some girls) living with the challenges of MS, and facilitate a monthly Men With MS Telegroup for guys living in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. The Telegroup was the first one set up for guys in August 2017, and has inspired the establishment of two more Men’s groups.

My passion comes from the opportunity to give a voice to those who don’t have a voice. MS is a chronic disease requiring a multi-disciplinary specialist team (I call them my ‘ists’) who help me manage my condition. I like providing others with the understanding that no two MS journeys are the same, and use my lived experiences to help others manage their own journey.

Thinking back to October 2019, I started providing peer support to a guy who had been diagnosed with MS for about 8 weeks. Now, three and a half years later we still catch up over the phone or video almost weekly and are good mates. Through that time, I think I’ve helped him adjust to what it means to live with MS and get the supports in place to help him live his most fulfilling life, including the benefits of a targeted exercise program.

My volunteer roles in peer support and as an MS Ambassador help empower and educate others to find out more about MS, identify what supports they might need, and foster better community understanding about the challenges of living with a chronic disease. If people leave an MS Ambassador presentation with a bit more knowledge about this disease, then I’ve done my job. One thing is certain though – despite my challenges, I am stronger than my MS!

I volunteer at the MS plus shop at Strath Village Shopping Centre in Bendigo.

I help sort donations, clean appliances and hardware, help refreshing shelves and some customer service.

I enjoy volunteering for Ms Plus as my contribution helps the aims of a very worthwhile organisation.

It is rewarding to know that the shop helps provide the community with good quality items at reasonable prices.

I have started and facilitate a Peer Support Group in Mansfield as the only other closest group was 90 minutes away.

The mutually rewarding benefits of listening and sharing the MS journey with people who just “get it” The support, learning and growth for me has been immeasurably positive on both my physical and mental wellbeing. I also love seeing the changes in the other members as well.

There are so many – but probably seeing my guidance and experience lead others to discover huge benefits such as learning about the NDIS.

I love volunteering because it gives me the opportunity to put a little love and kindness back into the world and help others in need. Volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my life and I hope to continue doing it indefinitely.

There are so many rewarding moments when I volunteer but my two favourites that I can’t decide between would be when my current recipient who has dementia, tells me that she doesn’t remember who I am or what I do, but she remembers that I make her feel happy. Also, when my first recipient told me I was the shining light of her life. These moments will be forever etched onto my heart.

Volunteer with MS Plus

As a volunteer, you can help us deliver essential support and services, and fundraise for MS research.

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