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Patricia Lock – Why I volunteer for MDUK

3 June 2021

Patricia Lock, who lives with congenital myopathy, provides support and guidance for people with muscle-wasting conditions across a range of volunteering roles for MDUK.

As well as being the chair of the Milton Keynes Muscle Group, Patricia supports others as a peer support volunteer, and is also member of the Joseph Patrick Trust panel.

This Volunteers’ Week, Patricia told us why she volunteers for MDUK and the value it brings to her life.

Why do you volunteer?

It’s great to help others going through similar situations to those that I’ve been through.

I’d been attending the Milton Keynes Muscle Group meetings for years before I began to chair it in February 2015. I was already aware of the value of being part of a group that understood exactly what I was going through, and I found being able to share information and access advice from others was extremely valuable to me.

Once I started chairing the meetings, I realised the important of being able to say others, “In my experience…”

Unless someone has first-hand experience of living with a muscle-wasting condition then they can never truly understand what it’s like. For example, I’ve transitioned to using an electric wheelchair and I can help people realise that in doing so, they aren’t giving up, they’re just going to have to do things differently.  In fact, it probably enables us to do more. Also, in being involved I’ve found out information I didn’t know before, that I can then share with others.

While these meetings were paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re hoping to share some exciting news on relaunching them soon.

How does volunteering for MDUK benefit you? 

As a member of the Joseph Patrick Trust panel, it’s really good to support individuals and families across the country who need equipment that’s not being provided by the NHS or social services.

In one afternoon we can help up to 50 families or individuals in raising funds for equipment that will make their lives easier. I love being able to help people who are going through difficult times in their lives.

With the Peer Support programme, I am pleased to be someone that people feel they can talk to and let off steam with, if they need that.

I find great value in supporting others currently going through what I’ve already experienced. Helping them realise that life is just different and that they can still manage to do things in their own way is a wonderful feeling.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

I really enjoy the fact that we can have a positive impact on each other’s lives. We can encourage each other when they are experiencing something we have dealt with and found a solution for.

For example, sometimes people are surprised that I am still driving, even though I use a power chair.  So it is good for people to find out that they can continue to drive after they have transitioned to an electric wheelchair.

It is always interesting to meet new people and hear their stories, and I certainly get that in my volunteering roles.

For example, it’s fantastic when new people join us at the Muscle Group meetings.  I try to make a point of welcoming them individually, as well as speaking to them after the meeting.

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