Two combat veterans. A shoe designer. The grandson of a matchmaker. A proud veteran of both the Army and the Navy. Treatments including radiation, chemotherapy and feeding tubes.
What do the statements above have in common? Each is true of at least one member of the latest class of CHN Support Volunteers.
Their reasons for volunteering were as varied as the men giving them – but each focused on a desire to help others. “There are bumps in the road, but you’ll get through them.”
“We all had a tough moment during treatment,” one recalled. “I want to help other patients know you need to expect that – and to have a plan to get through.” Although many patients will ask “why me?” after their diagnosis, another trainee reflected on his personal journey and arrived at a very different verdict. “Of all my family members, I’ve concluded that I’m glad it was me who went through this. I have a strength I didn’t know was possible.”
The latest training was held at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Atlantic Health in mid-July. It is part of a larger program that provides CHN-backed support for patients being treated for head and neck cancers at Morristown Medical Center. It included Morristown Social Worker Kathleen Crowley , who expressed gratitude for the first-hand empathy these volunteers bring to the patients they serve. “Every story is different, but you’ve all walked in those shoes.”
Following instructions in policies and procedures, longtime Support Volunteer Charlie shared insights from his five years with CHN, providing tips about the best way to provide support for patients going through treatment and into survivorship.
He reflected on what drew him to become a volunteer, saying, “I’m really grateful to be alive. I’m not about to go do a bunch of oncological research and I don’t have deep pockets. This is a tiny way that I can make a difference.”
We are pleased to welcome these Support Volunteers to the CHN family.
- Dennis – Tonsil, stage 3
- Jim – Tonsil, stage 3
- Lee – Supraglotis cancer, stage 1, Melanoma, stage 2/3
For more than 30 years, Cancer Hope Network has provided one-on-one emotional support to cancer patients and their loved ones by matching them with trained volunteers. Each of our more than 400 Support Volunteers are at least one year post-treatment or successfully undergoing maintenance therapies. Click HERE to request a match with a Support Volunteer or HERE to order free materials.