It's Volunteers' Week and we'd like to say a big 'Thank You'

Posted: Saturday 01 June 2019

Today marks the start of Volunteers' Week- a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution our volunteers make across the UK. Over the next week, we will be sharing stories from just a few people making a difference in the lives of people with macular disease. 

This is Audrey's story... 

Over a period of four to five weeks, Audrey had started noticing some distortion in her vision, but she always put it down to other things. However, as the weeks went by, she noticed it was getting worse and one evening in front of the TV she alerted her husband to the issue.

Audrey went to the optician to be told she had a suspected bleed at the back of her eye and they needed to find out very quickly what was going on. She went to hospital and was told she had wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – a condition she’d never heard of. She left the hospital in shock and couldn’t even remember the name of the diagnosis.

“I couldn’t look it up on the internet or anything. I have had floaters before so I was absolutely convinced he was going to say it will go away and clear itself up. I was in total shock but I couldn’t do anything about it.”

Audrey had 11 injections before she was told there was nothing more that could be done. “At the time I just accepted it,” she says. But, it was only a couple of years ago – and seven years after her symptoms first appeared – that she had a breakdown.

“Although I thought I had accepted it, I had never really accepted the change it was going to make to my life. I had just got on with it, I have always been one to get on with things. But it came back to bite me.”

Audrey contacted the Macular Society, as she wanted to do something to stop others from feeling the same way she did and she became a volunteer befriender. “I was paired with two fantastic ladies, they do as much for me as I do for them. It makes me feel useful. I can’t go out on my own anymore, I can’t see the TV properly, I can’t distinguish people’s faces, but it helps me to think I’m doing something for them by being there to talk to.” She adds: “It is such a two-way thing. They are always grateful for me calling them. I don’t want their gratitude, but it makes you feel like you’re cheering someone up and you feel quite good about that.”

Sarah Oakley from the Macular Society, who works closely with our volunteers, said: “Audrey is a real inspiration and generously gives so much of her time to help those living with macular disease. We are so grateful to all of our volunteers for providing this vital to support to people living with this devastating condition. With their help we are beating the fear and isolation of macular disease.”  

Volunteers like Audrey mean we can continue to make a difference to the lives of people with macular disease, providing support and helping to beat the fear and isolation that a diagnosis can bring.

If you want to help people with macular disease, find out more about the opportunities we have available.