Celebrating National Volunteer Month in Santa Fe
April is National Volunteer Month and has also coincided with our Volunteers returning to duty at Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have our amazing volunteers back in action!
To show our appreciation we asked our wonderful volunteer Joe Loewy to write about his experience volunteering with the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico:
“In late 2008 I was diagnosed with a rare but, manageable form of Lymphoma. I’ll never forget the doctors telling me in such a matter-of-fact manner that I had cancer! My brain became so hyper focused on that one word that I can’t remember a single other thing that I heard for the rest of the day. Three years later, two rounds of chemotherapy plus several sessions of radiation I was cancer free and remain so to this day. My oncologist said “you will die with this cancer, not because of it!” Similar to my story this is often the case of many of our patients – manageable but, not terminal illness.
Fast forward to 2012. I retired and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I shared my cancer journey story with a neighbor. He asked me if I would be comfortable helping cancer patients in the Chemo Room and suggested that I consider volunteering a few hours of my time. Eight years later I am still volunteering every single week as one of almost 30 volunteers with the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico. I’ve learned that nearly two thirds of our volunteers are also survivors or had family or close friends who’ve had cancer. We often say that you can’t throw a rock in northern New Mexico without hitting someone who has had an experience with cancer. I’ve also become a member of a weekly support group sponsored by the Cancer Foundation for the loved ones of patients as they go through a parallel, but different path with their patient.
We help to free up the time of the nurses to be able to focus on the patient’s medical treatment. We comfort the patients with pillows, warm blankets, snacks, drinks and pleasant (sometimes hysterically funny) conversation. The volunteers will tell you that we do this work as our way of paying back for our good fortune! Being a volunteer has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives.”
We love our volunteers! Click here to learn more about volunteering with the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico.