National Volunteers’ Week takes place between 1st – 7th June 2021. It is an annual celebration of the incredible contributions made by millions of people across the UK through volunteering who selflessly give of themselves to help others.
Amongst a plethora of activities, the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) charity’s army of Muscle Warrior Volunteers help to make Muscle Dreams a reality for its community.
From those that volunteer on ad hoc projects to those that give of their time to help bring on the magic to beneficiaries and families across the UK via its Muscle Dream interventions, volunteers are MHF’s life blood.
|“It’s been said that ‘you make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give’. When a group of truly extraordinary people come together, much can be achieved. At 7.30pm on Wed 2 nd June 2021, the amazing people (pictured below) were spotlighted as part of NCVO's National Volunteers Week initiative, at a celebratory Zoom event in recognition of their outstanding support as volunteers for the Muscle Help Foundation charity.
Always needed and forever appreciated, it was an enormous privilege to personally pay tribute to some of the charity's army of selfless Muscle Warrior volunteers who give their precious time to help others who are not only vulnerable but who so desperately need and deserve a little magic and joy in their lives during these testing times.
All of these wonderful people (plus others that don’t appear in the below screengrab) continue to make such a difference. They bring their compassion, they give of themselves, they care. Put simply, they are priceless, and they mean the world to us.
MHF’s personalised Muscle Dream experiences moved online due to the pandemic. They are only made possible thanks to the huge support of volunteers. This year for National Volunteers' Week we wanted to share some volunteer stories to highlight the difference they make and the vital role that so many of them have played over the last 18 years!
We spoke to some dedicated volunteers to learn more about their volunteering journeys and have captured below the essence of what it is they kindly shared with us:
’’I met 'Chief Muscle Warrior' Michael McGrath in 2009. We were judges for the 'WOW! Awards' which was ahead of its time for recognising front line workers. And Michael certainly 'wowed' me when he told me about the charity, its purpose and the beneficiaries it served.
Throughout the day he didn't mention his own condition. I was getting to know the man and the motivation. I didn't pay much attention to his wheelchair until he demonstrated its capabilities. I wasn't looking at the disability; I was absorbing joyful anecdotes, becoming energised and wanting to belong.
I wrote to Michael. Twelve years on, my volunteering roles have ranged from podcaster before it became trendy, beneficiary liaison, celebrity wing woman, and Awards application submitter. The one constant is that I became part of the MHF family which was what I had aspired to way back in 2009. It is a joyful enterprise and while the volunteering time I can devote ebbs and flows, the charity remains a constant and for that I am deeply grateful.’’
Sarah Lowther, ‘Muscle Warrior’ Volunteer
"I was a VIP Family host on MHF's flagship 2019 Porsche Muscle Dream programme in June 2019. What an unforgettably miraculous day it was, generously seasoned with joy, kindness, compassion, and empathy. For me, seeing the beneficiaries’ faces lit with surprise and awe was truly priceless.
Michael and Sue created a strong united community that came together as one big family. The warmth and emotion were beyond limits. I am truly honoured to have supported what was a magical and unforgettable day for all.’’
Milda Rowlinson (right), ‘Muscle Warrior’ Volunteer
"’I've been volunteering for MHF for several years now - mainly through my work at BCD M&E, but more recently in my own time as well. I have loved every minute! I've spent time working with Michael and the team, helping to put on some amazing experiences for all of the beneficiaries over the years.
I have most enjoyed filming and then editing the videos for the Porsche Muscle Dream event. You can see that the event is a big highlight for all of the beneficiaries in attendance on the day. It’s so fantastic to help put a smile on so many faces!’’
Nick Hamilton, (holding mic) ‘Muscle Warrior’ Volunteer
Chris began his volunteering journey 9 years ago. From hosting numerous Porsche Muscle Dream Programme experiences, to being a part of a Rare Disease Virtual Show team to taking on a cycling fundraising challenge.
’’To be a small part of an incredible charity and a wonderful team led by the incredible inspiration that is Michael McGrath, being a Muscle Warrior means so so much! We all come together with one aim, to give the ultimate experience and dreams to children who so truly deserve them most! What are we?!! Muscle Warriors!!"
Chris Holt, ‘Muscle Warrior’ Volunteer
Jess first heard of the charity back in 2013. He details his journey from being a father to his beneficiary son with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) to being a volunteer fundraiser:
’’I nominated my son Jack for a Muscle Dream at Twickenham to watch England v’s Ireland in the Six Nations. The weekend was superb from start to finish! Absolutely everything was considered, the pre-trip planning, the hotel, all the wonderful gifts, the 2-games of rugby, meals and so forth.
Jack and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I came away thinking there was something very special about this small charity. That was the start of my involvement.
Gloucester Rugby Club Former players association have been extremely supportive in holding events and raising money for MHF. Sadly, last year’s charity walk was cancelled due to the pandemic. Hopefully, we will be able to hold an event in 2022. Although we desperately need cures and treatments, just as importantly these children and young adults and their families need these kinds of wonderful experiences along the way to make happy memories. Keep up the good work all. As always, we are Stronger Together!”
Jess Haggett, ‘Muscle Warrior’ Volunteer