Ziggy Ahmed and Sue Brown have been Katherine Lukash’s support workers for seven years.
Last year Katherine, 56, who has TSC, and Ziggy, who plays prop forward for Rochdale Mayfield Rugby Club in his spare time, and Sue, a keen recreational horserider, all decided to volunteer for the TSA.
Katherine, a keen rugby and football fan, had lived with her mother, Barbara, for all her life. But in 2008, Barbara, a former nurse, sadly passed away and a new chapter began in Katherine’s life.
‘I started working with Katherine when she came into supported living in 2009,’ says Ziggy, 37. ‘I was keen to support Katherine to continue with as many of her interests as possible - and going to events put on by the TSA was something she got a great deal from.’
‘My mum was a sister at Rochdale Infirmary,’ says Katherine. ‘She always made sure that we went to as many TSA events as possible so that we could meet with other people who have it, and learn about it.
‘I like meeting other people with TSC. It’s good to talk about it.
‘But then Mum got poorly and I looked after her. Then I came into supported accommodation.
‘But I really wanted to keep going to TSA events, because I like going, and Ziggy and Sue help me to do that.’
The trio then decided to take their involvement with the TSA a step further by volunteering to help staff stalls at various events after hearing about a need for more volunteers at a regional group meeting.
“It all came about because Tanya, the volunteer manager, told us that she needed people to man a stall at a Family Fund Day that was coming up in Barrow in Furness,’ says Ziggy. ‘
‘Katherine was keen because she’s always enjoyed going along to TSA events, and even thought we’d never done anything like that ourselves, we thought we’d give it a go. And it was brilliant!’
Katherine, Ziggy and Sue have now volunteered for the TSA at several events and are keen to do more.
‘We put on our TSA T-shirts, and take leaflets along which explain what TSC is,’ says Katherine. ‘We’re very friendly so people come and talk to us.’
‘It’s all about putting something back,’ says Ziggy. ‘And it’s about making connections with people - I really like that and Katherine gets so much from volunteering every time she does it. She is so proud to be able to represent the TSA and give something back to an organisation which helps her.’
Ziggy says that Katherine's wider support team are also keen to enable her with her volunteering, with Jade Higson working with Katherine at the next event in York.
‘I would definitely recommend it to anyone who fancies it,’ says Ziggy. ‘Give volunteering a go. We’ve all got something to offer and it makes such a difference.’
If you’d like to volunteer for the TSA please contact Volunteer Manager Tanya Darnton on firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 023 8073 0823 or 07597 180088.