Category: Volunteer Stories

Miranda McConnell: An 8th Grade Inspiration!

We would like to take the opportunity to thank a young lady who has made a contribution to Cancer Services in honor of her grandmother, recently diagnosed with cancer. Miranda McConnell knows firsthand the toll that cancer can take and the relief that a wig can bring, returning some degree of normalcy during chemo therapy.

Miranda partnered with Indian Springs Middle School’s 8th grade community service projects team to donate wigs to Cancer Services. The project is ongoing as the inspiration spreads and donations continue coming in. Miranda says that “the knowledge that someone might be helped through the donation is reward enough.”

Our gratitude goes out to Miranda, her family, and all of the 8th graders who participated in this collection and donation. You are all an inspiration to our cancer community.

Hayli and Liz, Running With a Purpose

Hayli and Liz, the inspirational duo behind the blog, are an amazing team demonstrating how a struggle with cancer can impact family members and supportive friends.

For Hayli, running a marathon has always been a bucket list item that she will finally be able to tick off on October 28 at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. The event is also an opportunity for her to support her brother and cousin, both Marines, and her friends to raise money for an organization near and dear to her heart, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana.

For Liz, this marathon represents a tribute to the memory of her mother who passed away in August from ovarian cancer. It also is an opportunity for her to make a contribution to the organization that provided information and support during her mother’s year long struggle.

“I can’t think of a more distinguished way to remember my mom during a 26.2 mile run than to know that I’m running for a purpose this time around; and that the money we raise will help others directly feel the impact of Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana,” she says.

Liz’s mother Barb was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in June 2011 at the age of 60. In July, she began chemotherapy and joined a gynecological cancer support group at Cancer Services.

“CSNI was by my mom’s side [and] helped surround her with people who had been and were going through her same experience,” she says.

This past Christmas, the girls decided that for Hayli’s first and Liz’s third marathon, they would do more than participate but also raise money to benefit CSNI. After months of training for the 26.2 mile event in separate states (Liz is living Colorado and Hayli in Indiana) they registered for the MCM in March and are now just over a month away from the starting line.

“It is an honor to run for those who have been close to us and lost their battle with cancer,” Hayli says.

Please consider supporting Hayli and Liz’s cause by donating in memory of Liz’s mom, Barb, and anyone who has been touched by the care and support of Cancer Services.

Men’s Expo Car Demolition Fundraiser a “SMASH”!

On a day packed with what the event’s organizers describe as “everything MAN,” from Harleys and sports, to various meats on buns and vendors from across the area, the 7th Annual Men’s Expo at Headwater’s Park was a great success! The event also included a fundraiser that contributed to our organization through a Car Smash that raised money by selling T-shirts and swings of a baseball bat directed at a recycled, dilapidated car.

The car was donated by Car Recyclers of North Manchester Indiana, a salvage yard and event participant. Kelly and Katrina Kerlin from the company also donated their time for the afternoon, hyping the crowd and enticing people to roll up their sleeves and take a swing. Our own long time supporters and partners of the upcoming 5th Annual Bust a Move art auction, The Fort Wayne Derby Girls, were also there to lend their muscle to the effort.

We would like to thank Kelly and Katrina Kerlin from Car Recyclers of North Manchester for their time and donation, with special thanks to their daughter for raising money by tossing a football with participants for donations, as well. What a great idea to raise money at a Men’s Expo!

Volunteer Profile: Artist Turned Volunteer- Arlene Dennis

by Michele DeVinney

Picking up creative hobbies is one of life’s pleasures once your kids have grown and one has a little extra time to enjoy the artistic process. While this has proven true for Arlene Davis, a woman who enjoys everything from making quilts for her grandchildren to working on her embroidery machine, that urge has taken an unexpected turn. In recent years, she’s found a way to use her talents to contribute to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana along the way.

When a friend of hers was diagnosed with cancer and benefited from the organization, Arlene learned of a need for someone who made cards. She had already been making greeting cards for all occasions by stamping, but the stamps, many of which included quotes and sayings, weren’t exactly what Cancer Services were looking for. Arlene first looked to a program held at a downtown church, finding the woman who was teaching it was painting the cards – something Arlene immediately knew she would not be able to do.

“She was painting pictures of flowers – and they looked like flowers. I knew there was no way I could paint a picture. This woman who was demonstrating was fabulous so I almost decided there and then to give up the whole idea.”

But before she could give up entirely, she was given a couple scraps of paper and told to go home and make something. Given that challenge, the world quickly opened up to her and with the help of some paper and ribbon, Arlene was soon producing the beautiful cards found at Cancer Services. She has proven prolific, as well, generating 100-200 at a time and more than a couple thousand so far.

“I don’t keep track of them, I just make them. It’s a good tension reliever, and I enjoy sitting down and doing it during the evenings or during the day. I sometimes do it with a CD on or the TV on – or with nothing on at all. When I see Linda and she gives me the empty cards, I usually say ‘Is that all you got?’ But then I get to go to Michael’s for paper.”

With her friend now in remission, Arlene is nonchalant about her contributions to Cancer Services, simply saying “I enjoy my end of it.” But Cancer Services is grateful for the hours of time Arlene has contributed – and the joy those cards have brought to so many.

Volunteer Spotlight: Cancer Services Nominates Dave Fee for Carl D. Rolfsen Stewardship Award

Yvonne and Dave Fee

By Kristin Newbauer

Each year, the Foellinger Foundation asks for nominees from the non-profit community for its Carl D. Rolfsen Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding board members. In order to qualify for the Award, one must demonstrate at least three of the “Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards,” such as protecting assets and providing financial oversight, ensuring adequate financial resources, and ensuring effective planning.

In 2011, we nominated board member Dave Fee because of his strong leadership, active support, and service as a dedicated volunteer. Dave is a bridge builder, whether it means serving on the Executive Committee, Friends Committee, Finance Committee or on the Board, he is a critical and pragmatic thinker who expresses his opinions with a mission focus and in a manner that encourage others to be just as engaged. He serves as a standard for all board members. As a member of the Friends Committee, Dave actively invites friends and acquaintances alike to visit Cancer Services and learn about our mission and programs, while his broad skills support giving initiatives with individuals and foundations.

Dave is infectious and has a legacy effect on those members who have been privileged to serve along his side. In his leadership of finance, fund development and strategic planning, he has performed the fiduciary and governance responsibilities incumbent to an exemplary board member. His unyielding focus on the mission, dedicated service as a community ambassador, and financial oversight leadership, have produced sustained and healthy growth for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. His leadership has been utilized in the development of an expanded plan to include individual and corporate giving in the surrounding counties and the creation of a strategic plan with measurable targets for the next 5 years.

We could not do what we do without dedicated volunteers like Dave, and it is our great pleasure to honor him with this nomination. Thank you, Dave!