The Cancer Resource Center at Highline Medical Center in Burien seeks volunteers, like Billie Eberle, pictured by the resource center's entrance. There is more to the job than selling pink t-shirts.
Volunteers needed for Cancer Resource Center at Highline Medical Center
Volunteers are needed to work at the Cancer Resource Center and its gift shop at Highline Medical Center in Burien. The resource center is a function of both the Highline Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society and is located by the front entrance of the Highline Cancer Center and across from Radiation Oncology - Swedish Cancer Institute at Highline Medical Center.
Volunteers will be asked to commit to four hours a week with the goal of a one-year commitment. Chances are you will be trained by volunteer, Billie Eberle, a retired Highline RN. In addition to selling pink breast cancer themed t-shirts and caps, volunteers direct folks to the numerous shelves stuffed with free books and pamphlets on an array of cancer-related topics. They also have a back room where everything is free, including wigs, scarves, donated hand-made caps, and breast prosthesis, some unused. There are also some intangibles expected of volunteers.
"'Cancer' is the word people don't like to talk about," said Eberle, a Federal Way resident. "Here at Highline we have wonderful nurses, doctors, therapists, a great social worker, and all these people help the patient and family through their journey with cancer. And so the volunteers are just the frosting. We try to bring resources, friendship, and somebody to talk to. We go to the treatment rooms and talk to patients, both men and women, and try to get a conversation going to see what it is they need.
"Some people can't imagine volunteering at a cancer center," she said. "Some fear (wrongly) they can 'catch' cancer. Some think working with cancer patients is depressing. It's sometimes sad, but not depressing. We're looking for people who have the gift to talk to others, and who are encouraging, and accepting. Everybody has a story and we bring those stories out in them as we offer them resources."
Current volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds. Judy Beste, like Eberle, is a retired Highline nurse, and President, Volunteer Association at Highline Medical Center. Another volunteer is a two-time breast cancer survivor. There is a flight attendant who volunteers on the side, and, said Eberle, "Two fella's we're really proud of, both young. One is in the Coast Guard but leaves this summer for medical school. The other attends UW and is training to be an oncologist."
Under the Highline Wellness Center banner, the Cancer Resource Center offers support groups, yoga, acupuncture, and volunteer doctors test for skin cancer. Also through the center, the American Cancer Society offers drivers who will pick patients up at their home for medical appointments, and then return them.
The Cancer Resource Center is open weekdays, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Those interested in volunteering can call (206) 439-5577.