Avatar photo

Raluca Bragarea

Head of Communications, Bucharest

Part of UK in Romania

13th February 2014 Bucharest, Romania

I am volunteer

Today’s guest blogger is one of our former embassy colleagues and a dear friend, Cosmina Grigore, who now volunteers for Little People Romania. This year, the embassy decided to support their campaign to mark the International Day Against Cancer (4 Feb) and the International Childhood Cancer Day (15 Feb). Read Cosmina’s story:

I’ve always wanted to be a volunteer and work with children. It was one of my dreams that my guru, Cancer, helped me fulfill. Now I am a proud volunteer with an amazing NGO and I am grateful for this.

I met Delia and Oana in a sunny autumn day in 2013. Meeting point:  Fundeni Institute of Oncology. Rarely one can meet such an abundance of joy, vibrant energy, compassion and devotement. Needless to say, I fell in love. Delia immediately spotted my Harry Potter volume and started mind mapping ideas for her next Fun School class with the kids. I was mesmerized with her tails about the children with cancer and I told myself: “Cosmina, I don’t think we’re in Bucharest anymore!” Indeed, I was somewhere over the rainbow and I travel there every Saturday for my 2 hours of happiness.

Bandana Days 2014

After the interview with Oana and Delia I read the good news: I had been accepted as volunteer! I was happy to become a member of the Little People family. I find that giving 2-3 hours of my free time is nothing compared to what I receive: working with children with cancer means life lessons learned. They are strong, wise, funny and most of all, aware. Even if we think they don’t know much about cancer, I think they know the essential: that it is something THEY are dealing with and that WE can only offer them our support.

And this is what Little People does: invest, select, train, oversee, protect, promote, sponsor, teach, guide and love. I was grateful to see that we got interviewed and trained before having any contact with the children. This helped me understand the important role I was playing as volunteer. This is not a game: although we have fun, there are objectives to bear in mind. So, every Saturday, while volunteering, I am dedicated to teaching them interesting stuff, helping them cope with cancer and the needed treatment, putting a smile on their face while helping them believe this is just a phase that will eventually pass.

I am not the best volunteer, but I have great people to learn from: other volunteers who spend days at the hospital and give their last drop of energy to these courageous little people fighting cancer.

I am a big fan of the projects implemented within the NGO – Temerarii Club or “I am not afraid”. I think these projects are straight to the point and prove that someone cares for these children. Another example is “Bandana Days” – a fun awareness campaign that currently runs between 4-15 February in Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca and also on Facebook and other websites/blogs supporting it. “Bandana Days” is all about understanding that a little hair loss is a lot of health gain. Having to wear something because you lost your hair to chemotherapy is only temporary, hair grows eventually. This campaign is truly important because, it is my belief, people need to understand that cancer is not something you can “get” if you touch a patient and, more importantly, it is not something that depends on age, religion, sex or social status. It really doesn’t favor anyone. While promoting the campaign’s messages in a mall this Saturday I was amazed to see negative reactions from people who clearly had some level of education.  After talking to those who decided to spare 3 minutes of their busy weekend schedule I decided that when fighting any chronic disease ignorance plays an important role. Cancer is something that many talk, read, listen, debate and sponsor, but few understand. We need to care about ourselves and also about others because, guess what? we are linked, we live this life together and you never know when you will be the one needing support, money, advice, friendship, guidance and treatment.

bandana day attitude 2

It is not my intention to focus on the negative, but on the reality. As cancer is serious and real. I had it, convert it into my Guru and let it guide me towards a more aware way of living, a healthier lifestyle and a happier approach to stress. Nevertheless, it was something that marked me like a tattoo, scared me for the moment, but also brought amazing knowledge and emotions to my life. This is why my message towards everyone who lives, eats, loves, thinks and struggles stress is to be responsible, understand that taking care of you and others means prevention. Cancer is not something to be afraid of, but something that requires team work, research, trials, patience, interest and love, tons of love. Especially for the little people.

If you want to find out more please visit our facebook page . If you want to support us please send an e-mail at info@thelittle-people.org . More about the activity of Little People NGO here.

Cosmina Grigore, former cancer patient

About Raluca Bragarea

I joined the British Embassy in 2004, and have ever since enjoyed one of the most diverse and challenging jobs as a professional communicator, from partnering up with MTV Romania…

I joined the British Embassy in 2004, and have ever since
enjoyed one of the most diverse and challenging jobs as a professional
communicator, from partnering up with MTV Romania to promote the UN
anti-poverty agenda to handling Prince Charles’ press conference on a
hill top in picturesque Transylvania. One of the highlights working for
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been the introduction of an
internship scheme in the Embassy; we bring along students from various
backgrounds to help us deliver our objectives while they get a unique
opportunity to learn hands-on about diplomacy.
I am a former TV journalist, specialising in foreign affairs, and a
Fulbright scholar. I hold a Master of Arts in Information and
Communication Studies with California State University at Chico.
I am a major cafe latte fan and like to collect hand-painted icons.
My other hobbies include travelling and watching movies with friends,
particularly Quentin Tarantino’s. The latest memorable film I watched
was District 9, a superb science fiction with a social twist – anybody
seen it?

Follow Raluca