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Dana Farber Cancer Institute - special sauce, volunteers


Dana Farber special sauceI attended Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s (DFCI) annual volunteer recognition dinner last night, my first.  Recently accepted into DFCI’s Patient Family Advisory Council, (PFAC), I’m now an official volunteer, ID-badge and more. As its name implies, PFAC is a council of patients, families and caregivers whose voice is sought after throughout DFCI.  It’s an honor to have been selected and now serve.   This is only one of many volunteer units that add meaningful value to DFCI.  PFAC provides a unique patient (customer) voice and insight into all aspects of running a productive, healthy healthcare institution.   Study areas include moving into new facillities, parking, special services, minimizing wait time, patient education, opportunities to save unnecessary expenses, to identify areas of waste and opportunities for improvement and more. 

In his address last night, Dana Farber President Edward J. Benz, MD spoke about the special sauce that helps the institution earn such high marks for cancer research and patient and family care.  He said, the special sauce’s primary ingredients are the volunteers who provide an incredible level of patient support and kindness throughout the institution.  As a long-time active patient in treatment at DCFI I’ve been lucky to observe why DFCI is such a special place with special, caring people from parking lot attendants to the army of outstanding researchers, investigators, nurses, physicians and other medical pros.  Last night, I was elated to reconnect with one of my favorite volunteers, Ron a retired patent attorney from Digital Equipment Corporation.  Week after week, month after month, for a few years when in and out of treatment, Ron would come see me each time I sat in the infusion chair.  He made the visit to the infusion room seem very routine even on those days when I was very sick or shhh, scared.   He has a nice caring, calming, confident effect, man to man.   

We took up our conversation where we had left off, discussing our grown children and grandchildren, politics, the economy and more.  Ron cautioned me to be sure to let others know “you’re OK”.  “One of the problems with volunteering is we don’t know what happens to the patients for whom we care.   Sometimes we wonder… but more often it’s a great joy to see a cheerful, healthy post-treatment patient”.  

If you’ve been in treatment at DFCI, you know what I mean by having an extended medical family on your side.  It’s serious business, because cancer is serious, don’t mess with it.  Earning the right and attendant joy of becoming a volunteer at Dana Farber is also serious business.  Without giving away any secrets, the institute is careful about who will be given this opportunity and who can fulfill the obligation to provide such a high level of care, empathy and going the extra mile for patients and family.  The volunteer team is a well-managed, disciplined, fun group.   Funny how when you care for and focus on others, your own troubles don’t seem so bad.  Do you agree? 

For more info, please see  http://www.dana-farber.org/How-to-Help/Volunteer.aspx


From Ashish | On January 04, 2014 @02:04 am
Oooooh - an interview at DF!! Will be cnssoirg everything for you, KK - I know they'll LOVE you, just hope you love them right back!!We'll be away on 'vaca' too from Wed for 2 weeks, but will def give you a call when we get back - have fun 'Kelly on the Block'........<3
From Joe Reggerio | On June 16, 2013 @09:46 am
Dana Farber rocks! Saves lives too. Joe

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