Di’s passionate about making a difference

Di Ridley has volunteered for York Against Cancer for the past 12 years. The former bank worker helps with everything from counting Christmas cards and attending street collections to serving in York Against Cancer’s shops and helping make sure their events are a success.

Di has a deep understanding of how cancer can affect people. She had been about to start volunteering for the charity when her husband, Bernard, was diagnosed with cancer of the prostate in 2003.

During his seven-year fight against the disease she herself fell ill with oral-pharyngeal cancer, undergoing 12 hours of surgery to remove the tumour and reconstruct lost tissue with skin grafts from her arm and stomach. She was treated in 2004 and began volunteering when she recovered.

Sadly, Bernard died in 2010, but Di continued to work with York Against Cancer. She has found comfort in her volunteering role. “It has certainly helped a lot since I lost Bernard” she reflects. “I have definitely made friends here, the volunteers are quite a social group.”

Di says the feeling that she is helping other people is her biggest reward for volunteering at York Against Cancer. She is happy to lend a listening ear when people need it.

“If you think you’re having a bad day, just spend five minutes at our hospital shop and you’ll see people having a lot worse day than you are. If I can help someone going through a tough time with cancer, that’s great.”