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Volunteer Spotlight - Rumit Shah - April 2022

I volunteer because I want to help people understand about diabetes and the conditions relating to it. If I can help someone to make small changes to their life, then I’m very happy.

Meet our Volunteer Spotlight for April 2022, Rumit Shah

Rumit has volunteered with us for an incredible 14 years. He’s held a variety of different volunteer roles during this time, in the office, as a speaker, at events, as a community champion, and as treasurer of our Barnet local group.

Journey with diabetes

Rumit was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2005. “I didn’t get any support from my doctor when I was diagnosed apart from a sheet with dietary information. I found the Diabetes UK website with lots of information, and I joined up as a member immediately.”

At that stage, Rumit was working long hours in a demanding job as a Legal Cashier. When he had more free time a few years later, he decided he would apply to volunteer with us.

“I thought that volunteering would be a good way to not only help others but also learn more about diabetes.”

In the last year, Rumit is delighted that his diabetes has officially gone into remission.

Overcoming his fears to become a Volunteer Speaker

Rumit applied to become a Speaker Volunteer, giving talks about diabetes to the public. Looking back, he’s surprised that he applied for the role because of his nervousness about speaking in public.

“I was very fearful of speaking in public, but being a speaker helped me tremendously. Before training to be a speaker, I would find it difficult even to speak to three people and forget what I wanted to say. I remember that one of my first talks was at an organisation in Manor House. I was expecting to have 30 minutes for the talk, but I had to condense it down to 15 minutes and give the main points. It was a challenge, but the talk went well. People were so grateful, and I was very pleased.”

Rumit now speaks at our inductions for new staff at Diabetes UK. He talks about how he was diagnosed, and how he manages his diabetes. He’s looking forward to talking at the next induction in June.

Fundraising efforts

Rumit has helped at many of our fundraising events over the years. One that stands out to him is being a marshal at the week-long BMW PGA Championship in 2018. Rumit had a part to play in an incredible £350,000 being raised for Diabetes UK and the European Tour Foundation.

Rumit has also fundraised for us individually. His first challenge was running the 2010 London Marathon!

Most recently, Rumit and his wife took part in our Month of Miles in October 2021. “We raised £1,200, but more importantly, we raised awareness of diabetes. I’m involved in some groups for the Gujarati community. We managed to make more people aware of diabetes because of the walk that I was doing. One group then held two diabetes-focused events which were fantastic. I’m now planning to ask if I can do a talk for them.”

Other volunteer roles

Rumit is the treasurer of our Barnet group, bringing his skills and experience from his background in the finance sector. The group currently meets online each month to support people in the Barnet area and arranges regular speakers.

Rumit has also volunteered in our main London office. A standout moment for Rumit was his experience volunteering with our Legacies team.

“I remember helping to make phone calls to thank families where they had left a legacy to Diabetes UK. I was very proud of managing those conversations. It’s a very sensitive subject because the families had lost someone and were going through a tough time. I made them feel comfortable.”

Final thoughts

Looking to the future, Rumit is planning to attend some refresher speaker training and would like to arrange to deliver some more talks.

“I volunteer because I want to help people understand diabetes and the conditions relating to it. If I can help someone to make small changes to their life, then I’m very happy.”

And finally, what would Rumit say to anyone thinking of volunteering? “Go for it. It’s a wonderful team and you get lots of support. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, everyone’s very helpful.”

If you’ve been inspired by Rumit, find a volunteering opportunity here.


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