In 2003, I was diagnosed with stage 4 tongue cancer. I underwent chemo, radiation, and surgery – all successful. I knew then that I needed to help others get through their journey but did not know how. In 2007, I retired but still was not helping anyone. Right after I retired, our church, Fellowship of the Woodlands as it was known then, hosted a CanCare health fair.
I went and knew then that CanCare was what I was looking for to give back. I contacted CanCare and was in the June 2007 training class, class #40. I had no idea when I signed up that CanCare even went to hospitals. When it was talked about on Friday night, I was adamant that I would NOT do hospitals. It was too intimidating. But that changed. By the time training was over, I had signed up for 4 different hospitals – Conroe Regional, Memorial Herman in the Woodlands, Methodist in the Medical Center, and North Cypress Medical Center. I left Memorial Hermann in the Woodlands after I trained Renee and she took over so I could start going to Memorial Hermann Greater Heights. I was recruited by Dr. Bob Boyd, our CanCare volunteer there. I have been there ever since.
I remember one of my first patients in the radiation treatment center at Methodist that sold me on being a volunteer and more specifically at a hospital. She was a lung cancer patient in her later 60s or early 70s. She was in a wheelchair and had just recently been diagnosed. She was slumped down in her wheelchair looking like she had lost her last friend. I introduced myself and told her that I was a stage 4 tongue cancer survivor. She got a big smile on her face, straightened up in her wheelchair, and asked:” YOU ARE?” She was surprised. It was obvious I made a big impact on her but what she didn’t realize was how big an impact she made on me. From that point on I realized how important it was for a cancer patient to have contact with a cancer survivor and be introduced to CanCare. I am in my tenth year as a hospital volunteer.