Paying it forward: past Solaris Cancer Care patient becomes volunteer

Paying it forward: past Solaris Cancer Care patient becomes volunteer

This week is National Volunteer week (20 – 26 May), and WA’s leading cancer support provider – Solaris Cancer Care is recognising the enormous impact that its volunteers make in the lives of thousands of cancer patients.

For some, that impact is so great that they go on to become volunteers themselves, even using the idea as a goal while still in treatment.

Dalkeith resident, Susan Neo was diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer. But despite this looked forward to her weekly visits to Solaris Cancer Care where she received massage, acupuncture and reiki treatments.

She’s grateful for the care that the charity provided her and is now paying it forward, working as a meet and greet volunteer at the Solaris Cancer Care centre at St. John of God Subiaco.

“After I got the all clear, I volunteered to help straight away. I thought that I had a lot to offer the charity as a past cancer patient, even as just a friendly face and someone to talk with.

“You’d be surprised how many people need to talk to someone. Speaking as a mother myself, it can be hard to talk to family, but the people at Solaris are there to and help you come to terms with what’s happening,”

Susan – whose days with Solaris are finishing as she moves interstate to spend time with family – made the decision to volunteer while still in treatment due to the positive experience.

Solaris Cancer Care CEO, David Edwards says that volunteers like Susan are the embodiment of this year’s theme for National Volunteer Week – making a world of difference.
“We have over 350 talented volunteers who provide so much more than just their time to Solaris Cancer Care. They give us with their compassion, experience, patience and skills simply because they want to make a difference,” said Mr Edwards.

In 2018, Solaris Cancer Care provided more than 25,000 treatments, valued at over $1.75.

Unfortunately, budget concerns for Solaris Cancer Care are putting pressure on the organisation to limit operating hours at its regional centres in Bunbury and Albany, meaning that volunteers could be lost taking training, skills and capacity with them.

To prevent this, Solaris Cancer Care is calling on generous Western Australian’s who have been touched by cancer as it raises funds and awareness during its May we Thrive campaign.

For more information and to make a one-off tax deductable donation, visit