Alan and Maia’s Story

1 June 2016

Loughlin StarBoth Maia and I are proud supporters of the work Helen Rollason Cancer Charity (HRCC) does.  We first became aware of the Charity in 2013 when Maia was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She received reflexology and support at the one of their support Centres based in Chelmsford whilst undergoing treatment.

The care and dedication of everyone at the Centre was wonderful, this helped Maia’s recovery so much that we wanted to ensure that their great work could continue so that others could benefit too.

We kept in regular contact with the Charity and over time we realised that we had skills that could really benefit HRCC.  A year ago the Charity was looking to revamp their dated website as it wasn’t able to deliver all the functions needed to take the Charity forward.  I found out they could not afford the costs of a professional design company as this would take valuable money away from their services.

Working in IT with web development experience, I was able to offer my services.  I worked alongside HRCC’s marketing team to produce a cleaner, brighter website which was much easier to navigate round.

HRCC’s Marketing’s Michelle Andrews was delighted with the results:

“Alan was able to take all of our ideas and plans on board, and over six months of fine-tuning, gave us a fantastic platform for raising awareness, and helping to provide vital channels for fundraising. This would not have been possible without the help of our digital hero Alan, who is always on the end of the phone if we need on-going help. Visit to see the results of his wonderful web work.”

Maia has been able to help the Charity in an even more creative way!  She contacted HRCC with the idea of starting a Craft Therapy Group for anyone living with cancer as she found making things so helpful to her wellbeing during her treatment and she thought others would too.  The Charity thought this was a fantastic idea, and now the growing Group meet once a week at the HRCC Head Office, and everyone enjoys making a wide range of items under Maia’s guidance.  Maia has also made a range of creative gifts which she sold at the HRCC annual Vintage Fair, with all the profits going to HRCC.

Fundraising Manager, Kate Alden, is a big fan of the Group: Volunteers-Week-logo

“It is wonderful to hear the constant laughter coming from the Craft Group.  Since they began they have made a whole range of ingenious crafts, and we have been able to sell them at our various events.”

Recently, Maia and I took part in the Charity’s annual bike ride – Ride for Helen  – to raise funds.  We challenged ourselves to ride 15 miles and raise as much as we can for them.  Maia bought a bike, and we both set about training as neither of us have ridden a bike for a while.  The day was a lovely sunny day and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Being in the company of like minded supporters made us both feel part of a community and amongst friends.  We are now proud owners of a medal each to show for our efforts, and are looking forward to volunteering with the Charity and the good friends we have made there.

Summer Fair Volunteer

Mind, Body and Spirit Volunteer



  1. Claire Dobson says:

    As the volunteer co-ordinator at Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, I have got to know Maia and Alan really well. I am so pleased that their contribution towards the charity has been recognised by Volunteer Essex. HRCC are always looking to expand our team of volunteers!

  • Thurrock are looking for volunteers to support their carers. If you would like more information click the link.