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We pay tribute to two of our wonderful volunteers

20 June 2013

Volunteers play a critical role for many charities and the Malaghan Institute is no exception. From the ‘Malaghan Friends’ groups in various cities, to our AMI Round the Bays helpers, our volunteers are valued members of our team and we couldn’t do it without them!

This week is National Volunteer Week.  To celebrate, we shine the spotlight on two of our wonderful volunteers - Denise Udy and Katherine Lowe. Here’s what they had to say:


Denise Udy

Denise Udy

Denise has held varied roles over the years from hospital laboratory work, to social work and management. She is currently a member of the Wellington Friends Committee and a weekly volunteer in the Malaghan Development Team.

What made you want to volunteer?

I have had two bouts of breast cancer and my husband also died of cancer ten years ago. I wanted to do something that could assist other people with cancer and other life threatening diseases. I considered other organisations and voluntary groups, but decided that I wanted to help the “ambulance at the top of the cliff” to potentially prevent and cure cancer and other diseases.

I believe that small things can make a difference and that volunteering is about helping in any way that assists to achieve the goals of the organisation. It’s great to be retired and have the time to help.

Since I have been helping with the Wellington Friends of the Malaghan Institute and in the Development Team I have met some wonderful inspiring people, both volunteers and scientists, who are passionate and committed to the goals of the Institute.


Katherine Lowe

Katherine Lowe

With a background in government policy and currently doing an online creative writing course, Katherine brings some unique skills to her role in assisting with communications at the Malaghan Institute.

Why did you decide to volunteer?

I had read about the Malaghan Institute’s work in the newspaper a few years back, and was interested and impressed. I really like the Institute’s focus on harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight scary diseases.

I have the time available at the moment as I’m taking a break from paid work and doing some fun study. Serendipitously, about the time I’d decided to do this, we were looking up the Malaghan website (the chosen charity for my partner’s family’s Christmas present donation!) and I read about volunteering.

Was there a personal connection?

Like pretty much everyone in New Zealand, I have experienced loved family members and friends having scares with cancer and in some cases dying. I also know plenty of people with asthma and allergies which can make life miserable.

Why do you think others should volunteer?

There are loads of reasons for volunteering, probably as many as volunteers.

I’ve really appreciated working on tasks that use my writing skills. As a volunteer, there are opportunities to try new things, learn some new skills, and fit tasks to your particular skills.

And of course, the thought of contributing, even in the smallest way to raising more attention and publicity that is always so desperately needs in order to attract funding.


If you are interested in volunteering for the Malaghan Institute from anywhere in New Zealand, please contact: Jenny Sim on (04) 499 6914 ext 811 or [email protected].