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My Cancer My Choices Volunteers receive The King’s Award for Voluntary Service in Windsor

Our My Cancer My Choices volunteers collected The King’s Award for Voluntary Service in Windsor today. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

Ten of our current longest-serving volunteers were invited to the ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, where the crystal Award and certificate were presented by Andrew Try, the Lord Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire, on behalf of His Majesty the King. The volunteers represent the wide range of support provided to us, including volunteer complementary therapists, meeter-greeters, trustees, marketing, fundraising and admin volunteers.

After finding out that we would receive the award on 14th November last year, the King’s birthday, following a very rigorous nomination and assessment process, we have been excitedly awaiting today’s presentation.

As a charity, we provide complementary therapies and support to people living with, and beyond, cancer across Berkshire. Our mission is to empower people with cancer, enabling them to make active choices to enhance their well-being, as they come to terms with their diagnosis. Specialist therapists volunteer their time to offer a range of one-to-one therapies (acupuncture, scar tissue, aromatherapy and oncology massage, art therapy, reiki and reflexology) and group therapies (mindfulness and yoga), which help manage the side effects of conventional treatment and improve mental and physical health. These choices are offered from the time of diagnosis, and are not restricted by individual’s finances or cancer stage.

We have around 65 volunteers – about half of whom offer the therapies, at 4 locations across Berkshire. In addition, our “Meeter Greeter” volunteers regularly donate their time to welcome the service users for their appointments, providing a friendly reception and a cup of tea, and manage the service user’s bookings. We are also supported by an experienced board of volunteer trustees, and a volunteer fundraising committee, which raises the funds needed to run the charity, as well as volunteers who help us with admin and marketing.

My Cancer My Choices’ founder, Mandy Barter, also a volunteer, said, “We are so proud to receive this award, which is in recognition of volunteers, both past and present, who are truly outstanding and make a big difference supporting people with cancer. We could not deliver our service without our exceptional group of dedicated, caring, professional and hardworking volunteers. This award is the most wonderful acknowledgement of the impact of our entire team at My Cancer My Choices.”

Mary Niker, our longest-serving therapist for the charity, went up to receive the award and commented, “I feel honoured to receive this award on behalf of My Cancer My Choices. I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people while volunteering for the charity, the experience can be incredibly humbling at times. I am privileged to work alongside some truly inspiring individuals & to have witnessed the successful growth of the charity.”

We are currently looking to expand the number of appointments on offer to people with cancer, to meet growing demand, and would welcome enquiries from qualified therapists practising in the therapies My Cancer My Choices delivers, who would like to join our award-winning team.

“When patients tell me how relaxed they feel after a massage or reflexology session, I know it is making a real difference to their well-being. I can’t think of any better way to use my skills and experience in oncology massage than to volunteer with My Cancer My Choices. It’s always a privilege to see the changes in patients even after one session. It is truly rewarding. As a volunteer with My Cancer My Choices, I feel recognised and supported as a valued member of the team,” remarked Anne Thomas, MCMC volunteer therapist.

MCMC was registered as a charity in 2015, and since then we have supported over 2000 people with cancer, delivering over 7,500 treatments and 65 courses across Berkshire. Volunteers currently donate around 700 hours a month to help deliver therapies at the MCMC office in Charvil (Wokingham), in Deanwood Park (West Berks), at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (Reading) and at Bracknell Healthspace, as well as virtually, with a view to making the service accessible to as many people as possible.

My Cancer My Choices is just one of two organisations to receive this highly prestigious accolade in Berkshire this year. Nationally, just 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups will receive the award.

Those wishing to support My Cancer My Choices through donations or by joining our amazing volunteer team, can find out more at