Dedicated Mark Dunn overcame his fear of heights to help a seriously ill man fulfil his bucket list of wishes – and now the carer is in line for a top award.
Mark, 46, has been shortlisted for a prestigious Wales Care Award for Excellence in Palliative and End of Life Care after impressing colleagues at Everycare Cardiff, based in Splott.
“He has shown great compassion and professionalism,” said manager Toby Stockton. “Mark has led excellent practice with his colleagues including communicating difficult messages from health teams.”
He worked to an “exceptionally high standard” and had attracted compliments from social workers, too.
Mark, married with five children, thanks his sister for a career switch into caring for some of the most vulnerable in society which he made almost 20 years ago. He’d done a number of jobs previously including office cleaning.
It was during a period between jobs when his sister, now a district nurse, suggested that he tried the social care sector. “I’ve got a lot to thank my sister for, I have never looked back,” Mark, of Amroth Road, Ely, in Cardiff, said. “I love meeting people and new service users, it’s never one and the same, they have different challenges.”
For one of his supported clients he arranged a flight in a four-seater light aircraft above South Wales. But the service user’s bucket list also included a helicopter flight. “I am scared of heights and looking after a gentleman who had never been on a plane,” Mark said. “We had so much fun and because I was taking photographs I didn’t really realise how high we were.
“I conquered my fears thanks to my service user.”
Such is his compassionate nature and commitment to providing the highest standards of support, Mark even arranged for the man to join him and his family for Christmas dinner so he wasn’t alone.
Nominating him for an award, Toby Stockton said: “This shows Mark is not only professional but also deeply caring.”
Mark works with adults of various ages in need of support.
Outside work, Mark is involved with Ford Fanatics, a group of car enthusiasts.
He said: “I was over the moon and dumbstruck to be nominated for an award. I never thought I would be recognised.
“I love my job making sure every one of our service users has a better life.”
He’s now set to join other inspiring carers from across Wales for a night in the limelight.
The annual Wales Care Awards, run by Care Forum Wales, are now in their 15th year and showcase best practice in a variety of roles across the care sector. They are an important part of raising the profile of care workers and demonstrating to the wider public the vital work they do in looking after some of the most vulnerable members of society.
They will be announced at a glittering presentation evening on Friday, November 17, in Cardiff’s City Hall. The host is tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.
“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.
“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”