by Jennifer Robinson
A few years ago, everything was going well for my husband and me. We had moved back to Houston, my husband and I had new jobs, we bought our first house, and I was pregnant with our first child. Life was so full of happiness that I just had to share it with others. I started looking for a volunteering opportunity that I could continue after my baby was born.
By chance, I learned about Chemo Angels. It’s a non-profit volunteer organization that matches cancer patients with “angels” who provide emotional support during chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other cancer therapies. Laura Armstrong, who lost her father to pancreatic cancer and started corresponding with other cancer patients she knew, had founded the group. I joined with enthusiasm.
I became a Chemo Angel in May 2001, and volunteered to be matched with a person going through cancer treatments, offering support through the mail. I sent a letter or a package at least twice a week to my buddy in hopes of lifting her spirits. This continued until she was declared in remission in October 2001.
Instead of requesting a new buddy right away, I asked Laura if I could wait a month, since my baby was due in a few days. She replied it was not a problem, just let her know when I was ready to begin “angeling” again. I was disappointed not to get right back into action, but I knew I would need time to adjust to being a parent.
A week after I asked Laura for some time off, I began to get mail from other Chemo Angels in the USA and other countries, wishing me good luck with my son. Some sent cards, some sent gifts, but all sent their love and support. They had perfect timing. I was in my ninth month and getting uncomfortable. Sometimes it seemed the pregnancy would never end.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude. My fellow angels lifted me up when I was feeling literally weighed down. They gave me the perfect baby gift: a happy attitude. They warmed my heart, and allowed me to see how our buddies might feel when they get our cards and packages. It was a wonderful feeling.
Even my buddy — the woman I was assigned to help — gave me support. Close to my age, she was fighting breast cancer and caring for her small son. While I offered comfort during her cancer treatments, she gave me pregnancy advice and seemed to feel my joy in the pregnancy as if it was her own.
Today I am still a Chemo Angel and so thankful to be part of such a loving group. I was overwhelmed with gratitude towards my fellow angels. Me! I’m just one person in the world, but they took time out of their day to show me that they care.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The author recommends: http://www.chemoangels.com