Liz Rouse has been an active and integral volunteer with Norfolk Blood Bikes for three years, since meeting some of the charity’s members at Route 11 in Attleborough – a regular meeting place for the region’s biker community.
Since signing up as a member in 2016 Liz has been a controller, driver and fundraiser for the charity. Fundraising – though a challenging part for the team – is something she loves. As well as knowing that it is raising the all-important funds that keep the charity completing lifesaving runs each night, it presents the chance to meet countless new people and explain the work they are all so proud to do.
“By joining Blood Bikes, I am able to provide a much-needed support network for the NHS. It is a wonderful way to show my appreciation for all they do, there is so much more to the NHS than people think!”
After riding motorbikes when she was a teenager, her biker spirit was reignited in 2012. Now, in 2019, Liz is training for her advanced licence so she can start completing the emergency callouts on motorbike. The high-level training takes over a year to complete, and Liz is hoping to pass her test in the next few months.
Passing the test would not only be a huge milestone for Liz, but also for the charity. Liz will be the first female rider with Norfolk Blood Bikes. “The biker community is hugely dominated by men”, she explains, “it is nice to have the chance to push boundaries and change perceptions. After only picking up riding again seven years ago I’ve come a long way!” Liz will hopefully inspire more women to consider joining the charity and volunteer as riders.
It is now a family affair for Liz, who has enlisted her partner and daughter to volunteer their time for the cause. ‘I’m incredibly proud of the work we do at Norfolk Blood Bikes every day, you know that each call-out you complete is saving a life and each member of the team, whatever their role, plays such an invaluable part of making that happen”.
The upcoming launch of the Norwich Milk Bank Hub, run by Norfolk Blood Bikes, is incredibly poignant for Liz whose own son was born 10 weeks early. Now a thriving 21-year old, his first few weeks were touch and go. Without the essential donated breast milk he was fed, it is unlikely he would have survived. A recent visit to a special care unit while on route training really bought this home for Liz, “my goal is to deliver breast milk to a baby in need, it will feel like a real full-circle journey”.