Cancer Information Helpline Call 0800 226 237 | Email an Information nurse | Fundraising & Donor Care Helpline Call 0800 467 345

Volunteering for 35 years and counting

Waikato volunteering veteran Hazel Robertson has been doing her bit to help those impacted by cancer for 35 years.

Hazel was one of the early members of the Te Awamutu Transport to Treatment driving group.

Having lost her husband to cancer when she was 40, Hazel knows first-hand the importance of support with transport. She had been fortunate to have her licence at a time when many women didn’t drive, but she says it was “quite a strain”. This was her motivation to join the volunteer driving pool, supporting people to get to and from treatment a 30-minute drive away at Waikato Hospital.

“It’s the most heartwarming thing and the most help you can give to people,” says Hazel. “They arrive at their appointment and are not stressed as we’ve helped them get there relaxed and not worried about the driving or finding parking.”

It’s far more than just the practical support, there is an emotional need the drivers can fill too.

“Many people can’t talk to their families or don’t have family around to support them. We hear lots of stories – all in confidence – which is so valuable for people.”

When drivers get to the hospital they will go in with their client and help get them settled in and stay with them if they want too. Hazel says she loves it and finds it deeply rewarding.

Hazel has had some recent health issues that means she has stepped back from driving and now takes an administrative role helping with driver rostering.

She has also volunteered in the past as a Daffodil Day area coordinator helping make the annual street appeal a success in Te Awamutu.

When asked about her strong drive to give back to her community as a volunteer, she credits her upbringing.

“I am from a large family – there were 10 of us. There was no waiting for Mum to do things. You just got on and did it. It was a matter of chipping in when and where it was needed.”

This National Volunteer Week 2024, the Cancer Society wants to say a huge “Thank You” to all its volunteers, with a special extra thanks to those of you who, like Hazel, give so much of your life to serving others. If you are keen to “chip in” and help you can find out more about volunteering with the Cancer Society at