Volunteer Profile: Thank You Karen Byers!

Posted By on April 7th, 2014 at 8:28 am | 79 comments.

Karen CroppedHow long have you been a PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) volunteer?

I have been a volunteer with the PBCC since its inception.   The first thing I did was collect signatures on petitions requesting increased funding for breast cancer research.  These petitions were then taken to Washington (there was a big march to the White House).  Several members of our support group (the ABC’S) handed out material at the first Conference.  From that time forward, my husband and I filled the first tote bags that were distributed at the Conference; thereafter, the ABC’S graduated from my family room to a local store front (at a mall owned by Crown America, a former sponsor of PBCC), and then, for the past 12 years, at our church (First United Church of Christ in Carlisle).

From the first conference until the present, the ABC’S have “manned” the registration tables each year.   In addition, I have participated in the preparation of several photo exhibits and worked at health fairs distributing PBCC information/literature and free handouts.  I have also participated in several PBCC promotional videos over the past 20 years.

How did you first get involved volunteering with us?

I was invited to attend a meeting at WGAL-TV8 in Lancaster for a new breast cancer organization – my first introduction to the PBCC.  From that day on, I was hooked on becoming a volunteer and doing whatever I could to help promote breast cancer awareness.

What would you say is the best part of volunteering with PBCC?

The wonderful people I have had an opportunity to meet:  The incredible PBCC staff (small, but mighty) and volunteers, the wonderful women who attend the Conference each year, the one-on-one conversations with women and men whom I have met at the various health fairs and exhibits.  Being an advocate for breast cancer awareness has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful women who continue to inspire me.

The very best part of volunteering is that my daughter and granddaughter have begun volunteering at Conference – having the opportunity to share my passion and to see that they share the same passion as I for breast cancer advocacy.

PBCC2010_0100Any advice for someone who is thinking about volunteering but hasn’t yet taken the plunge to do so?

I volunteer, thinking I can be of help to someone else; however, I feel I am the one coming away learning from everyone else.  Volunteering with the PBCC is truly a wonderful experience that makes you feel as though you are really doing something to promote breast cancer awareness.  As much as is written regarding breast cancer issues, etc., it is amazing how many women there are who are not informed or know about the programs offered through the PBCC and how fortunate are the women of this Commonwealth, where breast cancer is concerned (free mammography, free treatment, the funds donated for research, etc.).  WE  MUST continue to make women aware of these programs and provide opportunities for involvement and advocacy.

Any volunteering memory/short story you’d like to share?

Many years ago, I was with a group of volunteers who visited legislators in Harrisburg, knocking on their office doors and introduced ourselves.  Not being a public personality, I was terrified; however, I always think if I can help just one woman in her journey with breast cancer, anything I can do is well worth doing whatever needs to be accomplished.  After the first introduction, I relaxed and found it exhilarating as I stated my cause.  I have always felt that my volunteering with the PBCC has given me wings to soar to unknown heights and do whatever is necessary to help find a cure…so our daughters won’t have to.

Want to volunteer with the PA Breast Cancer Coalition?  Click here.

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