My name is Claire and I have been volunteering for ECHO for over 7 and a half years.
When I was pregnant with my son Oliver I found life incredibly hard. The antenatal day gave me so much hope and inspired me to become a volunteer later on.
My son was one when I did my first antenatal talk. Still raw from my experience of operations and hospital trips, my talk was emotional but so rewarding.
From then on I helped out on ward visits, coffee afternoons, the Christmas party and transition days. Sometimes on ward visits I saw people I had seen at the antenatal talks and to see them with their babies was just wonderful. They remembered me and asked me after Oliver and told me how my antenatal talk had helped them through a difficult time.
The ECHO antenatal day gave me so much hope and inspired me to become a volunteer later on.
After going back to work full time, I had to give up the ward visits but I have still continued speaking at antenatal days. As well as helping our new members just starting out on their heart journeys, I find the experience cathartic.
Talking through my journey; pregnancy, operations, Oliver’s development and to where we are today, makes me realise how far we’ve come as a family.
I always tell our new members that we’re not unlucky, we are the luckiest family to have this little boy in our lives. He has changed our lives in so many ways, as have ECHO.
I am proud to be part of this organisation and hope to continue to be part of it for many years to come.
Visit our Volunteering page to find out more about how you can make an impact as an ECHO volunteer.