National Volunteer Week is April 18 – 24
In celebration of the 37th annual National Volunteer Week (April 18 to April 24), the American Cancer Society recognizes and celebrates the efforts of its more than three million volunteers nationwide who are making a difference for people facing cancer. In Hawaii & Guam, more than 10,000 volunteers give their time and talent to fight back against the disease, including Geraldine “Gerry” Johansen, who is determined to help end cancer during her lifetime.
Gerry volunteered for the American Cancer Society to speak at schools, business groups, and health fairs about early detection and prevention. She trained on breast and colon cancer awareness to educate Kamehameha School Alumnus. In 2008, Gerry helped organize the first Relay For Life of Kamehameha School Alumni. Last year, she was selected as a 2010 Hero of Hope.
“I volunteer for the American Cancer Society because as a cancer survivor, I want to do all I can to prevent others from becoming a victim of such a deadly disease and because after all I’ve been through, it’s the right thing to do,” said Gerry. “I want to make a positive difference in the lives of others and especially in finding a cure that puts cancer to sleep once and for all.”
“Volunteers are the foundation of the American Cancer Society,” said Jackie Young, Ph.D., Chief Staff Officer for Mission at American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific, Inc. “Volunteers have been crucially important in enabling the American Cancer Society to help save lives. As we recognize this special week, I want to thank each of our volunteers in Hawaii and Guam for dedicating their time and energy to our cancer-fighting mission. Volunteers impact the community in ways that could not be done without their personal commitment to creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”
In addition to Gerry’s efforts, many volunteers in Hawaii & Guam contribute to helping people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back against cancer through a variety of roles, efforts and American Cancer Society programs, including:
· Patient programs and services – Dedicated Society volunteers provide direct assistance and service to help people stay well and get well in a variety of ways: driving patients to and from treatment (Road to Recovery®), helping women with treatment related-side effects by teaching them skills to help their appearance (Look Good…Feel Better®), and providing one-on-one support as survivors to newly diagnosed patients (Reach To Recovery®), etc.
· Relay For Life® – More than three million Americans (including 500,000 cancer survivors) participate nationally in the Society’s signature overnight community event. Volunteer teams celebrate the lives of those touched by cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that takes too much. In Hawaii & Guam, more than 11,000 volunteers participate in Relay For Life.
· Making Strides Against Breast Cancer® – As the Society’s premier event to raise funds and awareness to fight breast cancer, nearly 500,000 people across the country participate in this inspiring, non-competitive walk. This event unites communities to honor and celebrate breast cancer survivors, educate women about the importance of early detection and prevention and raise money to fund lifesaving research, find cures, and support programs to further the progress to create a world with less breast cancer. In 2009, over 3,000 volunteers participated in the inaugural Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Honolulu, Hawaii.
· Legislative advocacy – The Society’s advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM , has a grassroots volunteer network of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who successfully work to fight back against cancer and send strong messages to lawmakers about issues that matter to people touched by cancer.
The American Cancer Society listens, shares, heals, and nurtures a spirit of hope and a culture of caring through volunteerism. To learn more about how you can saves lives while fulfilling your own through volunteering, visit our Web site, www.cancer.org/volunteer.
To all of our volunteers in Hawaii and Guam, Mahalo & Si Yuus Maase!