Volunteer Awardees 2013
2013 Road to Recovery Outstanding Volunteer Awardee
Jack Draxler, of the Great Valley Region, is the 2013 Road to Recovery Outstanding Volunteer Awardee. Jack started volunteering with the Society as a Road to Recovery Driver in 2006 in Kings County, a rural area southwest of Fresno where patients have to travel near and far for their treatment. Right away, Jack saw how important the program is to the patients in his community, and he became the local Volunteer Coordinator. His compassion and upbeat personality draws people to him, and he is beloved by patients, caregivers, providers, other volunteers and staff. Congratulations, Jack!
2012 Patient Service Program Volunteer Awardees
Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 Patient Service Program Awards!
The American Cancer Society California Division would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the 2012 Patient Program Awardees. Awardees were nominated within their respective regions by staff and volunteers and nominations reviewed and awardees selected by a volunteer review committee. The California Division of the American Cancer Society will recognize their outstanding contributions to the Society and service to patients and caregivers at the California Division fall board meeting.
- Look Good...Feel Better Sunrise Award
- Road to Recovery Outstanding Service Award
- Reach to Recovery Terese Lasser Memorial Award
Look Good...Feel Better is a program that teaches female cancer patients practical tips to look better and feel good about how their appearance during chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The Sunrise Award is given annually to three Look Good...Feel Better volunteers in the California Division, Inc. who have displayed exceptional dedication and outstanding volunteer leadership to the program.
Marlene Chenal Ptacek, Licensed Cosmetologist, Greater Bay Redwood Region
Marlene Chenal Ptacek has been volunteering with the Look Good…Feel Better program for twenty two years, nearly as long as the program has been in existence. During these years she has taught hundreds of women in her local Humbolt-Del Norte community how to deal with the appearance-related side-effects of cancer treatment. Chenal has also worked locally to promote the program and recruit new volunteers. For example, she worked closely with a local television station to create a public-interest piece which raised awareness about American Cancer Society services and increased volunteer inquiries. Not only is Chenal a local leader with the program, but she also holds a statewide leadership role as a Look Good…Feel Better Area Trainer. As an Area Trainer, Chenal applies her passion for teaching to certify new volunteers to lead patient workshops, coach existing volunteers, and she contributes to state-wide improvements to the Look Good…Feel Better program.
Socorro Berlanga became involved with the Look Good…Feel Better program six years ago with a clear goal: to serve Hispanic women with cancer in her community. To that end, Socorro helped launch the first Luzca Bien…Siéntase Mejor (Look Good…Feel Better in Spanish) class in Kern County. She recruited Spanish speaking volunteers, ensured that they became certified to teach classes, and she has continued to mentor them in their roles. Thanks to Socorro’s efforts, Spanish-speaking patients are able to learn skills to manage their cancer treatment side effects in a comfortable and positive environment. Socorro has also worked to raise awareness in the community about this resource and others available for female cancer patients.
When Darlene Jones attended a holiday party eight years ago at the American Cancer Society’s Napa office, she was particularly impressed with the wig room, and asked how she could become involved with the organization. Since becoming a Look Good…Feel Better General Program Volunteer and Coordinator, Darlene has worked on the front lines and behind the scenes to ensure positive experiences for all cancer patients attending classes. There are many details that come together to make a successful class and Darlene tends to them all. Her organizational skills and commitment ensure that the room, materials, and facilitators are ready for patients to have a positive experience. As a cancer survivor, Darlene is sensitive to the concerns of women going through cancer treatment and she works alongside licensed facilitators to ensure that each patient has her needs met.
Road to Recovery is a program in which volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their cars to transport patients to life-saving cancer treatments. The Road to Recovery Outstanding Service Award is given annually to a volunteer driver, coordinator or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the program.
Jerry Stephenson, Road to Recovery Driver, Great Valley Region
Jerry Stephenson became a Road to Recovery volunteer driver after losing his wife to cancer in 2004. He felt drawn to the program as a way to help others and lessen the burden of cancer on other families. Jerry’s commitment to the Road to Recovery program is unmatched. He consistently drives patients every day and sometimes will take on two shifts a day when needed. His willingness to drive patients any time of the day and in areas of the county where no other volunteers will has helped the Society support some of the most underserved patients in Fresno County. Also, Jerry’s compassion and upbeat positive personality draws patients and fellow volunteers to him. He has the unique ability to reassure nervous first time patients by making them feel relaxed and comfortable.
Reach to Recovery is a one-on-one support program for newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients. The Terese Lasser Memorial Award is given annually to an individual or group that has made outstanding contributions to the program.
Over the last 15 years, Mary Lou Creek has been actively involved in two local cancer support groups, Reach to Recovery, Daffodil Days, Relay For Life, and as a Legislative Ambassador. She not only recruits Reach volunteers, but keeps in touch with them making them feel engaged. Ms. Creek is a passionate advocate for the Reach to Recovery program and currently serves as a volunteer Coordinator. She works closely with healthcare providers in the community and she has developed strong relationships in the community to support cancer patients. Mary Lou is a perfect example for our volunteers -- caring, empathetic, and diligent. She understands the mission of the Society and the mission of the Reach to Recovery. She far exceeds what is asked of her.