Why Volunteering is for Me

Harvey standing outside his house in New York

Harvey standing outside his house in New York

Why Volunteering is for Me
by Harvey Heilbronn

Learning that I had lung cancer, my mind focused inward. I asked myself two questions, “How did I develop this disease and how did I gain membership in a club to which I did not want to belong?”

Passing time changed my thoughts from inward self pity to researching possibilities of help. Many options were found. I contacted organizations such as the Lung Cancer Alliance for information on my disease. People to whom I spoke were extremely helpful and understanding. The information provided made me feel powerful fighting this disease.

Speaking with Lung Cancer Alliance’s dedicated personnel made me want to help other lung cancer patients. I decided to participate directly to improving quality of life. This changed my focus and enabled me to use my experience to benefit others. Helping other lung cancer patients shaped the positive attitude that I have about my situation.

Hopefully my experience will inspire others to be positive in their own fight against this disease. As I made personal progress, I increased the amount of volunteering with this organization. Hopefully I can inspire other lung cancer patients to volunteer.

I became a member of an eight week nationwide telephone panel of people at various stages of this disease sharing their weekly experiences. In cooperation with the panel leader, I volunteered to research lung cancer developments that might be useful to other members. The chance to share information and experiences was invaluable.

Currently, I am a telephone buddy to a lung cancer patient. The chance to talk and share experiences is mutually beneficial. Recently, I participated on a panel sponsored by a large drug company wanting to learn about lung cancer patient experiences in order to target drug research that would benefit the greatest amount of people.

Lung Cancer Alliance knows that I am always available to volunteer in any situation. I will do whatever I can to help make someone’s life with lung cancer better.

Harvey is a Lung Cancer Alliance Phone Buddy