Volunteers are the key to Stenhousemuir charity’s success

John Muir has been a trustee and volunteer with Kidney Kids Scotland since 2003
John Muir has been a trustee and volunteer with Kidney Kids Scotland since 2003

No charity can operate efficiently without the help of an army of ‘unsung heroes’ working behind the scenes.

When it comes to fundraising and raising awareness of a good cause, volunteers have a major role to play and their contribution can never be underestimated.

Retired management consultant John Muir had no hesitation accepting an invitation from former colleague Andrew Thomson to get involved with Stenhousemuir-based Kidney Kids Scotland in 2003.

While he could easily have insisted his spare time after a career in business could be used doing ‘this and that’, he accepted without hesitation - and enjoyed every minute of it ever since.

As a trustee and volunteer with the charity, which has raised nearly £1.5 million to help children with renal disease and their families since its launch in 2000, he takes a lot of satisfaction from having been able to make a contribution.

And with Kidney Kids Scotland busy promoting its latest campaign to make World Kidney Day on March 12 a day to remember, he is as determined as ever to play his part.

The 72-year-old from Collingwood Court in Falkirk told The Falkirk Herald this week: “In 2003 I was delighted to be asked to be part of an organisation that works to help children with serious health issues and in 2015 have no reason to change my mind.

“I thought then what a great way it would be to put something back into the community. As a trustee I help with the day-to-day management of the charity. That’s good for me because it exercises the mind, which I think is important when you retire, but being a volunteer gets me involved in the fundraising and that’s the fun part.

“Last year I was involved in the world record bid to stage the biggest ever welly boot race. We didn’t set a new record, but over 1500 turned up to make it a great day and promote the cause.

“As well as a lot of dedicated people like the doctors and nurses involved, I’m also able to meet the children and the parents Kidney Kids is working with. Given what they face on a daily basis they are very brave families who deserve all the support we can give them.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s a ‘no brainer’. Knowing what these children live with every day and the challenges they face in the years ahead tells me I’m doing the right thing being part of something so positive.

“Helping organise the fundraising events involves a lot of people. Kidney kids can call on around 20 from across Forth Valley who help co-ordinate activities on any given day with the children and their families, And, of course we have been very fortunate over the years to have attracted the support of major employers like Ineos in Grangemouth and Falkirk Football Club.

“Thanks to a lot of people working together a substantial amount of money has been raised to benefit not only Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert but also Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, which of course is the centre of excellence when it comes to treating renal disease in Scotland.

“The work is ongoing and challenging, but it is very important to highlight this illness and the issues associated with it which, even although we have seen big advances in treatment, drugs and equipment, still leaves children and their families with a long hard journey.

“World Kidney Day on March 12 will not only bring front and centre the continued need for money but hopefully make people more aware of kidney disease in children.”