Volunteering at Cancer Research UK in Exmouth helps bereaved Kat, 21, get life ‘back on track’ after the loss of her mum

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 February 2018

Kat Dance (left) with her mum, who sadly died in 2016, due to a heart complaint.

Kat Dance (left) with her mum, who sadly died in 2016, due to a heart complaint.

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A young volunteer from Exmouth says helping others has been the key to getting her life ‘back on track’ after bereavement.

Kat Dance (right) with a colleague at Cancer Research UK's Exmouth charity shop, where she volunteers.Kat Dance (right) with a colleague at Cancer Research UK's Exmouth charity shop, where she volunteers.

Kat Dance, 21, recently held a cake sale in aid of World Cancer Day, raising £135.

Kat was dealt a devastating blow in September 2015 when her mum, Linda, died from a heart complaint at the age of just 44.

Kat, who was 19 at the time, had been her mum’s carer for five years and was left anxious and depressed without her ‘best friend’.

She said: “I didn’t really know what to do with myself. My dad would often go out and work, so I would be stuck at home on my own. I wasn’t really taking care of myself.”

A support worker suggested volunteering at Cancer Research UK’s Exmouth shop and Kat explained the role has helped her get ‘back on track’.

She said: “When I come here for the day I am surrounded by people - we joke, we laugh and we get stuff done. I feel like I am actually contributing something.

“It’s really built up my confidence. I am not staying in bed and playing video games until the sun goes down again.”

And Kat also wants to reach out to other people, who may be going through the pain of losing a friend or loved one, with a positive message of hope.

She said: “It is said again and again and again, but when you have lost someone close to you, it might feel like a long way off, and like the light has gone from your life, but it is going to get better. Talk to your friends and don’t let yourself become completely isolated.”

Kat’s new year’s resolution is to get into paid work, an aim she now believes is ‘just around the corner’, thanks to her work at the charity shop.

She said: “If you have been bereaved and you need to be surrounded by people, or need a change of scene, I would recommend picking up volunteering. Not only do you get out and see people, but you feel good for it, too.”

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