Read a Q& A with DBCC Volunteer and Peer Mentor
Merry Jones of Dover
|Merry Jones at a DBCC table at the Pink Heart Horse Show
How did you find out about DBCC?
Prior to my diagnosis, I read a wonderful human interest story in the Dover Post regarding Lois Wilkinson’s breast cancer journey and how that prompted her to eventually go to work for DBCC. I never once considered the possibility that I might someday need DBCC’s support. Once diagnosed with breast cancer, Lois’ name came up while I was networking with hospital personnel I knew and the rest is history.
What is your involvement with DBCC?
Really, pretty much anything I am able to do when a “call for help” comes out – from mailings, preparations for conferences, manning a table at health fairs, special fundraisers, as well as the major fundraisers like Bayhealth“Go Pink” Day and Southern Lights of Life. I have gone through both the peer mentor and volunteer training, and have mentored one woman. On the taking side, I thoroughly enjoy Nurture with Nature outings, and other social/educational programs offered by DBCC throughout the year. I have participated in the Rotary Walk, the Monster Mile Walk, and the DBCC DE-feet Breast Cancer 5K at the Tanger Outlets.
What made you decide to become a volunteer and peer mentor for DBCC?
Everyone I’ve met is so incredibly supportive and dedicated to DBCC’s mission. I wanted to give back, and hopefully, pay forward the help I was given.
What is a memorable moment you have had being a DBCC volunteer and/or peer mentor?
Two things come to mind. When working in the office with other survivor volunteers and in listening to each others stories, comparing experiences, laughing, and yes, sometimes tearing, the realization is brought home that we truly understand, can and do support each other, and that there is a good life after breast cancer.
On a not so happy note, I recall while manning an information table at the Milford Riverwalk Festival, how too many people passed by without interest, or purposefully looked away when they passed by, quite possibly in fear or denial of any need to know. I probably would have been that person years ago. Fear can be paralyzing; Knowledge, faith and hope are empowering. That is why DBCC is such a needed and important organization.
What was your experience as a model in this year’s Southern Lights of Life?
|Merry Jones modeling at 2011 SLOL
I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I don’t wear makeup other than lipstick and seldom have ever “dressed up.” Those who know my cancer story know that I hadn’t had my hair cut in 40+ years before donating 14 inches to Locks of Love, just prior to losing it. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and felt special. Sharing the spotlight with my survivor friends was a most wonderful and memorable experience.
Anything else you would like to add about DBCC or yourself?
I’m a mother of three daughters and two step-daughters. I am a retired speech pathologist. I am co-program director, bowling and tennis coach for the Kent Crusaders, my daughter’s Special Olympics team in the Dover area, and I serve on the board of directors of the Arc of Delaware, an organization that raises funds, advocates, and provides supports for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I enjoy the outdoors, limited gardening, and traveling with friends and family.
Southern Lights of Life photo courtesy of Bev Michel Photography.