James Molloy Writer
Hi there, and welcome back to the blog.
Before I get into this week’s topic, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you taking the time to read the blog; it means a lot. If this is your first time on the blog, then welcome, I hope you enjoy this topic, and if you do, I would suggest going back over some of the posts previously published on the site, and hopefully, we’ll see you back here for more in the future. If you are a returning visitor to the site, then welcome back. Always lovely to see people return, and I really do appreciate it. I hope you enjoy this week’s topic.
I wanted to discuss my volunteering experience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. I think it will make for a good story, and I can let you know about the excellent organisation I have been working with throughout the year.
Back in December 2020, I had received an email from LinkedIn about a volunteering position that needed someone to fill the role of Social Media Advisor. Since the job hunt had been going so poorly since I left college earlier that year, I thought that I would put myself forward for the position and just see what happens. I had a lot of experience in social media and thought I should put it to some good use.
The organisation is called HHT Ireland; it is an organisation for people in Ireland affected by an illness called Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia, or HHT for short. It is a rare genetic condition that leads to abnormal blood vessel formation in the skin and other organs such as the Brain, Liver and Lungs and is susceptible to bleeding easily. The most common symptoms of HHT are frequent and severe nosebleeds which affect 90-95 per cent of people with HHT. Ninety per cent of people with HHT are unaware they have the condition, which can lead to serious long term effects such as brain and lung haemorrhage, stroke, heart failure and death. A family history of strong and frequent nosebleeds, among other symptoms, may be an indication of having the condition.
HHT Ireland plays a vital role for those within the HHT community and those in the country just finding out about the illness. Since the beginning of my time in the organisation, I have found that it is a solid, tight-knit and supportive community and resources are freely and openly shared.
New members are also given a warm welcome, and it is easy to feel a strong connection to the cause from very early on in the process, which I did. Since joining the organisation, I have found myself becoming very passionate about the cause and trying to educate people as much as possible about the condition whenever I get the chance. The idea of potentially encouraging someone to get a diagnosis before anything severe happens is enough motivation to do the job and try to do it well.
Since joining the organisation at the beginning of January, we have done several social media campaigns of which I am very proud I got to be a small part. The first one we did after I joined was the myHHTValentine campaign which was done to try to get people to donate blood for their valentine. This campaign turned out to be successful as we had image after image of people going to their local clinic and donating blood for those that really need it.
We also had a successful campaign with the HHT Ireland Moveathon, which was held in June. The organisation was in its second year of hosting the marathon as standard methods of fundraising, such as the Women’s Mini Marathon, were put on the back-burner due to the Covid-19 pandemic and masses of people unable to gather and social distancing protocols still in place due to the spread of the virus.
I was glad to be a small part of the organisation for the past nine months, and I am looking forward to the next chapter and whatever comes next in my volunteering journey with HHT Ireland.
If you have any concerns about having HHT or would like to find out more, I encourage you to check out the organisation @hhtireland on Facebook and Twitter; for Instagram, it’s @hht_ireland. You can also visit the website hhtireland.org.
That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the post, and again I would like to thank you for taking the time to read it. If you want to keep up to date on the site, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @MolloyWrites.
I hope you enjoyed this and we’ll see you back here next week.
Until next time.