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The fundraiser helping the chronically ill find meaningful work with ASTRiiD

The fundraiser helping the chronically ill find meaningful work with ASTRiiD

A Macmillan Cancer Support fundraiser and author has become the first ambassador for ASTRiiD: a charity that connects people suffering from long-term illness with businesses who need skilled volunteers or staff.

Fiona Goldsby, 42, was diagnosed with a benign tumour in 2008, which quickly became aggressive in 2010 when she was given 18 months to three years to live, forcing her to leave her full-time job.

Eight years on and crediting finding a meaningful role in fundraising as a major factor in her ability to outlive her prognosis, Fiona is now an ASTRiiD (Available Skills for Training, Refreshing, Improvement, Innovation and Development) ambassador.

Founded in July 2017 by David Shutts, OBE, after he was diagnosed with incurable and inoperable advanced cancer ASTRiiD is an online matchmaking service that provides meaningful work to those with long-term, often incurable and advanced health problems. The charity seeks to leverage the ‘invisible talent pool’ – skilled people living with chronic illness, who have slipped off the employment radar and have the potential to bridge the UK’s skills gap.

Fiona has become an ambassador for ASTRiiD following her own fight to find meaningful work. At the time of her diagnosis Fiona was the Business Support Manager for her local authority with responsibility for a team within the Highways division. When an MRI scan revealed that her tumour was growing aggressively Fiona was booked in for an operation to remove it and had to go on sick leave from work.

Six months later, Fiona learned the tumour had returned so chemotherapy was required with immediate effect. In August 2011 Fiona was finally told that her tumour had shrunk and was stable. Having had the support of two Macmillan nurses throughout her journey, she organised a coffee morning fundraiser, and then decided to get more involved in the charity. Since 2013, she has raised a quarter of a million pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

She said:

“The key to getting better from any illness is being positive. Loneliness and sadness are negative emotions, which fester and do no good. But, when you feel you are doing something worthwhile, it has an impact. You want to get out of bed in the morning, you want to achieve. Humans need social interaction and we need to feel that we are contributing to society – and that’s why I’m passionate about ASTRiiD and my new role as a charity ambassador.”


Main image: Fiona Goldsby being awarded the Vicky Clement-Jones Award, for people who have used a personal cancer experience to help others.

L-R: Tanya Taylor, Fundraising Manager, Lincolnshire and South Nottinghamshire, Macmillan Cancer Support; Fiona Goldsby, Chair, The Merry Macs of Lincoln Volunteer Fundraising Team, Macmillan Cancer Support; Sue Kirk MBE DipHSM, Vice-President, Macmillan Cancer Support; Rt Revd Lowson 72nd Bishop of Lincoln.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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