Tell us about yourself
In 2007, at the age of 41, I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and went through treatment. In 2009, I was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)/acute myeloid leukemia (AML). I had a double cord transplant at UCLA on July 10, 2009my new birthday. I am incredibly thankful to be almost 11 years old! My husband and I retired last year and moved to beautiful Bend, Oregon. I am incredibly thankful to Be the Match, my medical team at UCLA and the Lord that I am still here to enjoy this new chapter of my life.
Why I volunteer for Be The Match
I knew that if I survived, I wanted to give back. So many people and organizations, including Be The Match, helped me through my journey. I wanted to help other patients through transplant because I knew what it was like to be scared and overwhelmed. My goal is to help and encourage them in the ways I desired when I was in their shoes. I want to give them hope. I started volunteering for Be The Match back in 2011 when the Peer Connect program was just beginning. I absolutely love speaking directly with patients on Peer Connect calls and Survivorship Chats. I am also an Education Resource Reviewer, have served on the Patient Services Advisory Group and have participated in various quarterly and annual telephone conferences for transplant patients. My husband, Clark, is also a Peer Connect volunteer for caregivers.
All of the people I have dealt with at Be The Match have been wonderful. An organization is only as good as its people, so needless to say, it is a fantastic organization. They are incredibly dedicated to the mission.
My greatest accomplishment
Nothing brings me greater joy than hearing the relief in someone's voice after I speak with them. Many Peer Connect calls begin with them feeling very anxious and end with them realizing, "I can do this." Most Survivorship Chats have at least one person who is greatly comforted by realizing that what they are experiencing physically, emotionally or spiritually is completely normal. It is truly an honor.