A KIND-HEARTED volunteer has been handed a British Empire Medal for services to supporting people living with cancer.
Samantha Schiaffino received her award at a ceremony at the Guildhall in Worcester by the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Patrick Holcroft, and was invited to a summer garden party at Buckingham Palace.
Sam is an employee at npower in Solihull and signed up to the Macmillan volunteer buddy scheme in 2013 through work.
The buddy scheme offers practical and emotional support to someone living with cancer or a carer in their own home.
Sam said, “I am so proud and honoured to have received the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year honours list – I still can’t quite believe it to be honest.
“I have supported two people over the last six years.
“The first biweekly phone calls and occasional visits (who has now sadly passed away), the second through regular visits over the last four years – helping with trips to the shops, attending blood tests and even the occasional walk to the local pub.
“When I signed up to the buddy scheme through npower, I wasn’t sure if it would be for me as it’s not for everyone, but I have nothing but positive things to say about working with Macmillan and the support they provide.
“To know the support I give goes some way to making people’s lives a bit easier is an amazing feeling.”
Sam has also organised events, such as an annual golf day, to raise money for Macmillan and is a site committee lead.
Niki Cooper, volunteer services coordinator for the West Midlands, said, “Sam has been a real asset to the Macmillan volunteer buddy scheme, each week visiting her buddy and making trips out when their health allows.
“This can be something small like a little walk or an outing to the shops to buy flowers. It can’t be underestimated how much this is a vital boost to a person living with cancer.
“Sam does so much for Macmillan and she is pivotal in helping us provide such important support to someone in their time of need. We cannot thank her enough.”