This week (April 6-12) is National Health Care Volunteer Week.. It was established by President Nixon in 1974 as a way to show appreciation and raise awareness for volunteers and the valuable services they provide. Volunteer work is an integral part of the operation of many social and civic groups, including the Cancer Support Community.
Data collected by the National Conference on Citizenship in 2012 estimates that service hours nationwide make a contribution equivalent to $175 billion. As part of this great movement, National Health Care Volunteer Week emphasizes the significant impact that volunteers have in the health care field and highlights the meaningful support they provide to patients, families and the larger community.
There are health benefits to volunteering, a 2013 Carnegie Mellon University study determined. An experimental group that volunteered for 200 hours a year saw a 40% decrease in their risk for high blood pressure. The emotional benefits are countless as well. If you or a loved one are affected by an illness, such as cancer, volunteering with a local hospital or non-profit organization if you are able to provides an opportunity for you to help and share your experience with others who are going through a similar situation. Volunteers enjoy a sense of accomplishment as they give back to their community and acquire new skills.
There are numerous volunteer opportunities available worldwide. Most involve just a few hours a week or just one day a week; there are even opportunities to volunteer from the comfort of your own home. If you’re a cancer survivor, you can give back to others by joining the Cancer Experience Registry, where you can help researchers learn more about the full cancer journey by answering a questionnaire. There are also often volunteer opportunities available at CSC affiliates. These vary from administrative tasks, fundraising initiatives, outreach and hands-on involvement with cancer patients, caregivers and their families. Any amount of time that you can dedicate makes a difference.
Outside of CSC, you can find additional service projects that best suit your needs and your interests, at www.volunteermatch.org.
Throughout this week we challenge you to become involved in service. Let us know in the comment section how you will celebrate this inspiring week!