Re-posted with permission from Women of Teal
Post by Dee Sparacio, Cancer Hope Network Support Volunteer

CHN anniversary card

This arrived in the mail from Cancer Hope Network.

I love the sentiment on the front. Then I opened it and saw that it was a thank-you for the seven years I have been a support volunteer. Wow! I remarked to my husband that it sure hasn’t seemed like seven years.

Back in 2005 I was upset. I knew the statistics about women diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer. Jeez I knew that Gilda Radner died from that disease. I just wanted to talk to someone who had the disease and lived. Heck I didn’t even meet any women in my cancer center with the disease. So when I saw a brochure for Cancer Hope Network in the waiting room I picked it up and brought it home. I hesitated at first to call. I’m not too keen on cold calling someone. But one afternoon as I sat in bed I went ahead and called. I told the person who answered that I just needed to talk to someone who had been in my situation and lived. She took all my information and said she would call back when she had a match. The very next day she called and said she could connect me right then and there with a volunteer. I spent the next half hour talking to a women diagnosed with 3b, lived in my state,  had the same chemotherapy and surgery and was a 5 year survivor. It was wonderful. I was not alone. I could survive too!

When I was out of treatment one year I called Cancer Hope Network and said I wanted to be one of their support volunteers. I did training and within a week or two I was talking to other women with ovarian cancer. I have been volunteering ever since. Although I did take a break when I recurred and was back in treatment but once treatment was done I was back on the phone.

I have spoken to women from NYC, Florida, California, Indiana and Kentucky just to name a few. I have spoken to women treated in the top cancer centers in the country and those going to community cancer centers and oncologists. I have talked to women who are a short ride from their doctor and center and those that drive eight hours or take a plane and stay at hotels when then go for treatment.But each and every time I remark “I felt that way too” the reply is the same ” thank goodness I thought it was just me.”

Thank you Cancer Hope Network and all their volunteers for supporting those diagnosed with cancer. If you are newly diagnosed with any cancer or a caregiver for someone diagnosed with cancer you may call (1-800-552-4366)  or visit the Cancer Hope Network website online to be matched with a survivor.



Every Day is a Blessing!