Mark has been volunteering at Trinity as a massage therapist for over 5 years. More recently, he has also been running staff, volunteer, patient and carer yoga classes at the hospice.

Here he shares his story of what led him to volunteer and why each day he is grateful for being able to contribute to the wellbeing of Trinity’s patients and their families:

"I had a friend who died at Trinity and that’s what led me to volunteer here. She was a big-hearted larger than life character called Annie, a drama therapist with a colourful history.

She embraced life at Trinity and, in fact, cried tears of joy when she was admitted. I was really impressed with how well she was looked after by the staff and volunteers here.

Massage and yoga came to me in later life. I did a Degree in Therapeutic Bodywork at the University of Westminster in 2004. With yoga, I trained for two years at Morley College, starting in 2007. The style was very slow-paced with an emphasis on the breath.

The aim for my yoga classes at Trinity is for patients and families to feel calm.

Stress and anxiety are common feelings that surround life-limiting illness. Whenever we get stressed our breathing gets affected and our body tightens. Gentle movement with awareness of the breath allows the body to soften and the mind to quieten. Everything becomes more present.

Massage also helps to generally calm people down, relieves stress, gets blood flow going and allows for better sleep.

I remember a particular lady who came to Mulberry Place as an outpatient and made a huge impact on me. She always said the massage really helped with her sciatica. Often we would talk about deeper, more esoteric things. She came from humble beginnings and had a hard but successful life. As her condition deteriorated she would say she felt more soul than body.

Because she also loved the art therapy class, she taught me how important the social aspect of the outpatient service at Trinity is when you are faced with a terminal diagnosis.

Your world shrinks and you make new friends. I went to her funeral, and her husband was so gracious when he saw me.

My favourite thing about volunteering at Trinity is that at the end of the day I always feel that it has been worthwhile, that I have contributed in a small way to someone’s wellbeing. I remember once bumping into someone’s son while waiting for a bus in Brixton. His mother had died at Trinity a few months earlier.

He thanked me for seeing his mum and told me how much she had enjoyed her sessions. I told him what a beautiful mum he had. Then we gave each other a hug and went our separate ways. 

I would say that if the thought of volunteering with Trinity touches you deeply, just go for it."

If you are a Trinity patient, family member or carer click here to find out when you can attend Mark’s yoga classes, which take place in Trinity’s light and peaceful Mulberry room.

If you, like Mark, would like to make a difference to the lives of those facing life-limiting illness, you can find out more about our volunteering opportunities here.

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