Remarks from the Cancer Hope Network Volunteer Celebration
Cynthia Gutierrez Bernstein, CHN Executive Director

This week is one of our very favorites each year – it’s an opportunity to express our gratitude, to celebrate the enormous impact each of you individually – and collectively – are having.

Looking back

Cancer Hope Network began 40 years ago to combat the fear and isolation faced by cancer patients. We were the first in the nation to provide peer support for people facing cancer.

And our visionary founders recognized that connecting with someone who has walked a similar path can be profoundly helpful. There’s hope in knowing that no matter how difficult the diagnosis, how terrifying the treatment plan, or frustratingly exhausting the side effects, you’re not alone. With each match visit, each telephone call, you make that knowledge reality – our clients are not alone.

That connection is what made us revolutionary in 1981 and it’s what keeps us relevant today.

Last year, our volunteers had more than 2,000 conversations with patients and caregivers across the country. Clients have reported to us that connecting with a volunteer decreased their distress by 4 points on a 10 point scale.

Isaac Newton once said, “if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In his case, he was referring to his lifelong love of learning, his belief that knowledge builds upon itself.” (And perhaps, a little false humility!)

After nearly 16 years at Cancer Hope Network, the truth of those words is profoundly meaningful.

Thanks to the foundation built by giants like our founders Diane Paul and Kris Luka and so very many committed volunteers, staff, and community supporters, Cancer Hope Network is looking forward to the next 40 years with hope and optimism.

Looking ahead
We’re modernizing our database and matching system – and looking forward to the improved communication it will make possible and the relationships it will facilitate.

We’re developing and deepening collaborative relationships with organizations and healthcare providers across the nation – and looking forward to the increased numbers of matches that will mean for you.

We’re continuing to build and grow the training and support we offer to our volunteers – and looking forward to ways it will make your lives easier and your service more meaningful.

Core values
As you provide that hope, you’re living out the organizations’ values. With each call, each text, and email, you’re living, breathing examples of hope done RITE – demonstrating Respect, Integrity, Teamwork, and Excellence (RITE)

Those values are reflected in the feedback we receive from clients matched with you:

From the client grateful to their volunteer for sharing their treatment journey (“It gave me the information to speak to my doctor about my own treatment.”) or the client who found encouragement and hope (“My volunteer is a wonderful example of a positive, caring person who spends time talking to and cheering up her clients.”)

Our commitment to supporting clients and volunteers has remained at the core of who we are through the decades. We’ve listened and will continue to listen, working together to meet the unique needs of each person we serve.

Thank you for being part of this journey – and for continuing to create hope.