Colette first joined Back Up in November 2014 when she trained to be a partner mentor after her husband had his spinal cord injury in 2012. Since then she has supported 13 people, all of whom are the partner of someone with a spinal cord injury. Colette’s positive and can-do attitude is infectious. She is kind, supportive, thoughtful, and always puts her mentees first. She is an incredibly reliable mentor, always ready to jump in and help someone even at short notice. Colette has become a very experienced family mentor and can even support those who are in a very different situation to herself.
One of her mentees said: “Speaking to Colette has been great! Sometimes its really nice to chat to someone who can put your mind at rest and to hear somebody else’s knowledge of SCI”.
Sue, one of Colette’s first mentees, had this to say about her:
“Colette was brilliant. We were on the same wave length, here we are and we get on with it. She really helped during the time my husband and I were apart. She helped with practical ideas. I think mentoring is a great idea and Back Up is the only charity that helped during eight months of my husband and I being apart and getting used to the changes after his accident. I would love to help someone going through being the partner of a spinal injured person”.
Sue trained to be a partner mentor herself in November 2016.
Colette had this to say about her experience of volunteering at Back Up:
“I enjoy mentoring because I really do genuinely care for people who are close to someone with a spinal injury or have had the injury themselves. The importance of sharing experiences and letting people know they are not alone, and what they may be feeling and experiencing is normal. I hope my mentees feel less isolated and I hope I am able to give practical advice based on my own situation.
When my wonderful better half had his injury in May 2012 (T12 complete), he received such wonderful care and had a huge amount of support. I cannot say the same for myself – I felt incredibly lonely and had no one to talk to or turn to for practical or emotional information. I could not turn to him at this point as I had to be the stronger person.
I found Back Up just over a year after he was home because I wanted to help people who may be in my situation, in the hope they will not feel as alone as I did. Sharing information and my experiences means so much to me, it makes me feel I am doing something which matters.
Whilst being a Mentor I have had the pleasure to have met (over the telephone) the most amazing people. I cannot impress enough how truly brilliant, strong, dynamic, thoughtful and warm my mentees are.
Back Up enables a service which is truly invaluable – the staff are incredible too! Thank you all”.
Colette is a shining example of a Back Up mentor and we are proud to have her as a volunteer. We are incredibly pleased to be able to name her our volunteer spotlight this month.
Are you interested in volunteering? Find out more here