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Olympic Torchbearer Shares his Volunteering Story

Killian Turbit, 18, from Omagh carried the Olympic flame through Armagh on 5 June. He came across the possibility of becoming a torchbearer through his school in Omagh and jumped at the opportunity.

One of the 600 torchbearers in Northern Ireland who participated in the Torch run Killian shares with them the same drive and passion for getting involved in the community and having an impact in other people’s lives. This fierce determination and need to help others encouraged Killian to start volunteering in Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh. “I volunteer as a helper in the Rehabilitation Ward every Sunday for a couple of hours. I go around and chat to the patients and make sure they are comfortable. I get great satisfaction from helping people and seeing them getting better. After a few weeks you do get to know them and start developing a relationship. You have to be empathetic, caring and have the ability to listen and anticipate their needs. I would like to study medicine at university so this has been a great experience.”

When asked about the highlight of his volunteering experience he says: “There’s a lady I’ve met in the hospital that had a broken femur and was there for quite a number of weeks. The other day I met her in the street and was amazed to see how fully recovered and well she is. We were delighted to see each other and she expressed her gratitude for my assistance while in hospital and the fact that I had taken the time to talk to her. That was a great moment!”

Killian has been actively involved in school life as a member of the Student Council and Head Prefect, using his musical talents to help out at the WELB Senior Orchestra. He has been involved in different volunteering programmes within school such as St. Vincent de Paul’s appeal last year. His enthusiasm for helping others has been recognised when he won “Outstanding Student Volunteer of the Year” and the Millennium Volunteer Award of Excellence for 200 hours of Volunteering. “I started volunteering when I was 17 at the Omagh Gateway club helping with activities for children with learning disabilities. One of my brothers has Aspergers so I had that experience in my own family, it was great to be able to help other children. It was also fun and I got to meet a lot of new people and socialise. There’s a lot I get out of volunteering and it’s a great opportunity for personal development. It helped me become more confident and I am now able to communicate better.”

When asked why he decided to volunteer to carry the torch for the Olympic Games Killian said, “I have been swimming with the local Strule Dolphins club since I was 12 and I have always followed the Olympic Games and other international competitions. My excitement about London 2012 has been building up over the past few months and I’m expecting it to be a fantastic year of sports. I’m proud and amazed to have been given the chance to be part of it!”

When asked what advice would he give to someone thinking of or starting to volunteer he said, “Be confident in what you want and try to go for something that you will enjoy not only for the next month but for a longer period of time. Make sure you get as much out of it but remember that you must give first to get something back.”