Anita RobertsThe battle against cancer is a notoriously gruelling one. It is not a journey to be taken alone.
And Anita Roberts has dedicated a quarter of a century towards helping ensure it is not a fate to befall those fighting the disease in Llanelli.

She has been a volunteer at the chemotherapy day unit at Prince Philip Hospital for almost two decades.
And before that, she became involved with Ty Bryngwyn 25 years ago.

"This was before it was built at a time when hospices weren't really known about," said Anita, of Pwll.
"I used to collect money for the hospice movement in Llanelli, then was asked to join the committee.
"Then I became a volunteer and have been volunteering on Ty Bryngwyn and now the chemotherapy day unit for 17 years."

Anita is just one of hundreds of people who give up their time to help patients as part of Hywel Dda Health Board's Volunteering for Health scheme.

The scheme, which currently has more than 200 volunteers carrying out 70 different roles across the area, recently reached the semi-finals of The National Lottery Awards.

"As a Volunteering for Health befriending volunteer I chat to patients and family members, make refreshments, and give out lunches and sandwiches to the patients," said Anita.

"Chatting with the patients is really rewarding and important as having a familiar, friendly face can make a difference especially if any are feeling a bit anxious.

"It can also be a long day for patients so they really appreciate someone to chat with. The unit can be very busy so I can also help out by going to the pharmacy for medication or running other errands and when needed tidy around which really supports the unit.
"The staff are really great and really appreciate the time I give and I know I'm a valuable member of the team.
"Whenever I'm out and about families and patients will often approach me to say hello and have a chat. This is really nice and makes me feel that I am making a difference in the community."

The scheme has beaten hundreds of other initiatives across the UK to reach the top 10 in the best health project category.
It now faces a public vote to reach the top three and go head-to-head in the finals for a prize of £2,000 and a special feature on BBC One.
Head of volunteering services David Fretwell paid tribute to Anita and other volunteers, without whom the scheme could not exist.
"Anita is one of our longest serving volunteers who has given her time and commitment to support patients," he said.
"We value the time all our volunteers give as they really do make a difference to both patients and staff."

Article reproduce with kind permission of the Llanelli Star.