As a trainee GP, Diarmuid first discovered Over The Wall in 2017 when he responded to an email from a colleague that featured the charity and its need for Clinical Volunteers at its camps.
“The more I found out about Over The Wall, the more this type of volunteering appealed to me.” explains Diarmuid. Since that moment of discovery, he has been a Clinical Volunteer at four camps.
Now, as a qualified and practising GP based in Bristol, Diarmuid naturally has a very busy life, but still sets time aside for Over The Wall, using his annual leave to be a volunteer.
“It’s great to have a qualification that you use in your day to day job, but I’m very lucky that I’m able to use those skills to be a part of something truly amazing -and also fun! That’s why I use my annual leave to volunteer for Over The Wall- and I have never regretted it for a moment. Every camp I have experienced has been incredible.”
“It is so inspiring to see the campers arrive a little nervous and reserved because of their illness but then gradually, after a few hours, truly become themselves. You see them begin to realise that at they are simply ‘children’ whilst at camp- and not ‘children with an illness’.”
“As a GP, I treat many young people with serious illnesses and it can often feel like they are constantly poorly, as I only ever see them at their worst. Camp has enabled me to realise that these children really can live their lives to their full potential and achieve far more than is often perceived possible. There can be so much more to life for children with serious illnesses and camp is one of the best ways for them to realise this.”
“Volunteering has also given me the ability to be able to recommend camp to families on particularly dark days. Often, these families will be feeling lonely, like they are the only people to be experiencing their struggles. Now I am able to tell them about something that can potentially help them and their children to regain some ‘normality’ and laughter in their lives again.”
“I have seen many children achieve so much more than you would believe. At my first camp, I remember watching a child who uses crutches get to the top of a climbing wall on the final day of camp. His confidence had grown throughout the week and I was privileged to have been a part of his first camp.”
“No matter how stressful my life gets, I know that I always have camp to look forward to. It is one time when I can be myself and support a magical cause, whilst doing my job. I tell other trainee GPs who are about to start their career – ‘everyone needs sunshine in their lives- so go and volunteer for Over The Wall!’ It’s all very well going on holiday and sitting on a beach- but there is nothing in the world like camp!”
If you are looking for a new challenge in 2020 and would like to try something completely different from your day-to-day life, consider volunteering for Over The Wall. Our camps are life-changing – for children and volunteers alike.