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John O'Byrne

I have been a volunteer at Royal Hospital for Sick Children since 2007. During that time I have spent a lot of time visiting, chatting; and getting involved in a variety of age appropriate activities with the children and young people, who are patients at Yorkhill. I’ve carried out my duties in most of the wards.

I also volunteer two evenings every week with “Medicinema”; a registered charity, dedicated to enabling NHS patients the opportunity of going to the movies whilst in hospital. As an ex patient myself at Yorkhill, I understand how difficult it is for children to spend so much time in hospital.

That personal experience meant I wanted to give some time back to hopefully make some difference to some of the children, who are currently in hospital.

It gives me real satisfaction when I see the faces of the children; or young people as they start to relax around me; and allow me to get to know them; along with their likes and dislikes. It really is a lot of fun; especially when you find yourself dressed as an elf on Christmas Eve year after year.

On a personal level, I feel that volunteering has also made a difference to my own life. I’ve made a lot of new friends, nursing staff, managers, co volunteers; and the experience has improved my confidence and self esteem.

In 2013 I was the winner of NHSGGC’s Chairman’s award for volunteering; I feel quite proud of my personal achievements gained through volunteering and would recommend others to get involved.