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Beebe Honors Tunnell Cancer Center Volunteers

Debbie Campbell, Rep. Ruth Briggs King, and Cynthia Gooch Copley at the Tunnell volunteers luncheon 2018.

The Tunnell Cancer Center volunteers who brighten the day of people with cancer had the spotlight cast on them Friday as Beebe Healthcare recognized their service for National Volunteer Week.

These volunteers provide a wide array of services to patients, from helping them get comfortable in the infusion suite to styling their wigs and giving them some of their confidence back.

Together, they bolster the patient experience in ways that Beebe could not do without them.

"We absolutely could not do what we do, at the level we do it, without all of you,” said Lee Halloran, Beebe’s manager of Volunteer Services.

Barry Hamp, executive director of the Tunnell Cancer Center, thanked the assembled volunteers and asked them to start thinking about how they might like to serve patients in the forthcoming South Coastal location.

“You’ve done very well here taking care of patients, and down there it’s going to be even better,” he told them, in part because of the expanded food options.

State Rep. Ruth Briggs King, of Georgetown, shared a passage from her House resolution recognizing National Volunteer Week along with a personal story about the “tremendous impact” volunteers provide.

She summarized her emotions in the old truism, “Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless.”

Many of the volunteers at Tunnell Cancer Center are survivors of cancer who want to return the kindness provided to them.

They include Grant Kingswell, a retired hairstylist who was treated at Tunnell for colon cancer. He says it’s a great feeling to customize the wigs of cancer patients, who appreciate the confidence boost and sense of normalcy the styled hairpieces provide.

The volunteers say they look forward to their time at Tunnell because it gives them meaning, purpose and a sense of camaraderie.

“I volunteer on Mondays and I can’t wait for Mondays,” says Joan Stranix, who helps with a variety of clerical tasks.

Judy Bryan, a volunteer who works in the chemotherapy infusion suites, enjoys making patients feel more comfortable and ends up sharing that feeling herself.

“I always come away with a sense that I’m feeling better,” she says.

Marie Sarna, who greets patients before they get their blood drawn and carries the samples to the laboratory, is a breast cancer survivor who enjoys the feeling she gets when she can relate to patients. Plus, she’s cultivated valuable friendships among the staff.

“Everyone here is so wonderful,” she says.

Those who are interested in volunteering at Beebe can call (302) 645-3531 or email volunteer@beebehealthcare.org.

Shown (left to right at top) are Debbie Campbell, Rep. Ruth Briggs King, and Cynthia Gooch Copley at the Tunnell volunteers luncheon 2018.