Volunteer Spotlight: Carol Hopkins

carol hopkins

Carol is a resident of Laurel, DE. She is an ordained Evangelist and the Founder of Soul Savors Ministries International and Founder and Pastor of Victory in Grace Tabernacle in Laurel, Delaware. She has been in ministry for 22 years. Previously she worked in higher education and business for twenty-nine years. She has a Bachelors Degree in Bible Studies from Exodus School of the Bible, Cleveland, MS.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Katherine R. Gordy

katherine gordy

“I was born and raised in Georgetown, graduated from Georgetown High School (Now Sussex Central) and attended Delaware Hospital School of Nursing in Wilmington. After graduation, I married Frank Gordy and we raised a daughter and two sons.

In 2007, at the age of 77, I was diagnosed with grade 3 carcinoma of the left breast. A small lumpectomy was done. After much debate, I agreed to a year of chemo and radiation by the caring staff at the Tunnell Cancer Treatment Center.

As a cancer survivor, now at age 83, I still play golf. I am also active in a monthly reading club. I have traveled many places over the world. Since my treatment, my husband and I have traveled to Maine, Florida, Hawaii, and the Western National Parks. I exercise regularly by walking, gardening and at classes.

I think my background as a nurse helped me accept the treatment. Since my recovery, I have mentored other ladies through the Breast Cancer Coalition, my church and friends. I know it is very helpful as you go through treatment to talk with someone who is a survivor.”

Volunteer Spotlight: DeAnna Williams

DeAnna Williams
It all began in March, 2005. DeAnna had an itch on her right breast and felt a lump. She compared it to her left breast and became concerned.

A mammogram determined the need to see a specialist. A biopsy showed #breastcancer and DeAnna was immediately scheduled to have the lump removed in May. She needed to schedule chemotherapy and radiation, but postponed it until after her daughter’s graduation. She did not want to take a chance on side effects making her miss this special day.

When DeAnna found out she was to be a grandmother, she knew she had to see her first grandchild. That motivated her to complete my treatments and keep a detailed scrapbook of her healing process.

DeAnna says ”Eight years later, I am still here and have two granddaughters, ages 5 and 7. I am a survivor!”

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Ryan & Peggy Dever


Sue (left) and Peggy
When Sue Ryan was diagnosed with breast cancer 28 years ago, it was her best friend Peggy Dever who became her caregiver.  At the time they both lived in Pennsylvania and Sue spent time vacationing in Rehoboth Beach with her friends. Then Sue and her husband decided to make the move to Rehoboth Beach 12 years ago. Sue was then introduced to DBCC and started volunteering at health fairs and giving talks about breast cancer.
Ten years later, Peggy and her husband decided to make the move to Rehoboth Beach as well. Peggy joined Sue as a DBCC volunteer and they became two of DBCC’s “go-to volunteers.” Together they volunteer at DBCC outreach and fundraising events throughout the year. “Together, it’s a fun thing for the two of us to do,” said Peggy. “My mother had breast cancer and so did my best friend (Sue) so it’s very dear to my heart.”
For the past few years, the two have worked as co-chairs of the silent auction committee for Southern Lights of Life. Together the dynamic duo asks local businesses for donations for the silent auction to raise funds for DBCC. 
Sue also started DBCC’s Bosom Buddy program about 2 years ago. The program provides donated bras, prostheses, bathing suits and wigs for breast cancer survivors. In the past year the program has given away 42 bathing suits, 20 prostheses, 40 bras and a number of wigs. Peggy and Sue host Bosom Buddy days at the Lewes and Dover offices and attend the annual Breast Cancer Update to introduce survivors to the program. “It’s so rewarding to see the look on a woman’s face when she feels better about her looks,” said Sue. “We had one woman who had a double mastectomy and had been stuffing her bra. We helped her find a prosthesis and she just cried.”
Left to right: Peggy, Sue, Connie Holdridge and Kathy Wiz.
Sue explains that her favorite part of volunteering for DBCC is interacting with survivors. “I’m such a people person and helping survivors makes me feel good,” she said. Sue has been a DBCC peer mentor for 4 years. In that time she has mentored 20 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. “I just enjoy the organization immensely,” Sue adds. “I wish I had DBCC when I was diagnosed. What they do is fantastic and the staff is wonderful to work with.” Sue recently joined the DBCC staff as a part-time outreach coordinator in Sussex County. She helps with outreach events and manages the Bosom Buddy program.
Peggy agrees that the programs that DBCC offers are important to survivors. “I enjoy the outreach programs and I think getting the information out there about breast cancer is very important,” she said. “DBCC is wonderful and they help so many people. I love to keep active and stay involved with the organization.” 
In November 2012 Peggy and Sue were recognized by Delmarva Broadcasting Company as “Delmarvalous Women” which recognizes outstanding women. Vicky Cooke, DBCC Executive Director, and Connie Holdridge, DBCC Program Manager of Education & Survivorship in Sussex County, nominated them for their outstanding service to DBCC. “They are just so involved with all that DBCC does from fundraisers to health fairs to the Bosom Buddy program,” Connie said. “They are two of DBCC’s core volunteers and they do anything and everything that we ask. They truly are a great team.”

Volunteer Spotlight: June Burton

June with Today show co-host Hoda Kotb
When June Burton of Rehoboth Beach was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years ago, she thought she knew what to expect.  “I had just retired from being an oncology nurse for 20 years,” said June.  “I had spent a lot of time working with inpatient oncology administering chemotherapy so I thought I would be more prepared for my treatment, but I wasn’t.”

Now on the other side of care, June received her treatment at Beebe Hospital‘s Tunnell Cancer Center.  During her treatment she got in touch with Connie Holdridge, DBCC’s Program Manager for Education & Survivorship in Sussex County.  “Connie couldn’t do enough for me,” June said.  “She was such a great help to me.”  Connie matched June with a DBCC Peer Mentor, a breast cancer survivor who volunteers to mentor a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient.  “My mentor was very helpful.  When I was first going through treatment we talked on the phone and then when I started feeling better we’d meet for lunch.  I had the support of my family but it was so great to have someone who had already been through it to talk to.”

When June finished her treatment she was ready to help and give back.  “I told Connie that I’d love to volunteer and help with whatever she needed since she was such a great help to me.” June now volunteers at the DE-feet Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk and other DBCC events.  Just a few weeks ago, she volunteered at the 20th Anniversary Event at The Coffee Mill with special guest Hoda Kotb.  The event was a fundraiser for DBCC.  “It’s so great that the money raised in Sussex County stays right here.  Some funds help uninsured women and that really is great.”

“I’ve found that I really enjoy volunteering,” June said. “I know just how important volunteers and caregivers can be.”  June plans to become a Peer Mentor when the next program is offered.  “I want to help in whatever way I can.”  June also serves on the Executive Board of her condo association and enjoys visits from her family in Philadelphia.

If you are interested in volunteering with DBCC, click here for more information. Volunteer trainings are held quarterly throughout the state.

Fundraising for the DE-feet Breast Cancer 5K

Peggie with her  award

The DE-feet Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk is less than a month away so we sat down with one of last year’s top fundraisers Peggie Ball to find out why she walks, how she puts her team together, and how she raises money for DBCC and the fight against breast cancer.
Peggie Ball of Selbyville, DE is a breast cancer survivor who has a passion for getting involved and giving back.  Last year, she chose to walk in the Second Annual DE-feet Breast Cancer 5K and when asked why, she said “Because DBCC is a local organization and I believe in their programs. The main reason I do this walk is because I know it is helping local people.”
Last year, Peggie created a team and called it “Walking for All.” She said she chose this name because, “this is not about me or a specific person, this is about everyone who has been impacted by breast cancer and we are walking for all of them.”
Peggie said aside from her work collecting donations for the Raven’s Roost, this is the only fundraising event she does all year. So how does she do it?
Team “Walking for All” with their fun accessories!
She explained that one of the most important things is to start early. “I sent a letter in December before the holidays letting people know that they would hear from me soon about this event,” she said. After her initial contact, she followed up with an e-mail in early February with a link to her fundraising page. Peggie then recruits some of her friends to join the team and asks them to reach out to their friends and family for donations.
The “Walking for All” team has no shortage of fun at the event. Peggie has a collection of pink visors with feathers, headbands, scarves, and crazy hats for her team members to wear at the event. “There’s no rhyme or reason…just for fun!”
Peggie’s Top Fundraising Advice:
  • Start Fundraising Early
  • Be concise when asking for donations but also be ready to give more detail.
  • Offer to input checks and donations for people.
Other fun fundraising ideas:
  1. Throw a party for your friends who donate to your cause!Offer hors d’oeuvres and drinks for every person who donated $20 or more. This is a great way to raise money while having fun with your friends.
  2. Create a Spare Change fundraiser. Ask all your friends and family (or even local stores) to place a jar in a visible place to collect spare change. Pennies do add up!
  3. Start a Blue Jeans Friday. Ask if you can ask everyone to wear blue jeans to work if they donate $5 to your cause
  4. Sell yourself as a personal chef!  Raffle off your cooking skills and offer a home cooked meal for two.
  5. Host a jewelry party for you and your friends. Charge $5 to attend and have everyone bring  1 or 2 pieces of jewelry that they don’t mind parting with, and do a silent auction or swap.
  6. Get the help of your company! Many employers offer matching funds programs. Your $50 donation could turn into $100!
  7. Use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to reach out and ask for donations from your virtual community of friends and colleagues.
  8. Ask for money! Sometime the most direct route is the best. Write up a donation letter (or e-mail) and send it to 10 friends. Ask those ten friends to send it to ten of their friends. The message will quickly get out about your event, and the funds will start rolling in.

Event Details
The DE-feet Breast Cancer Run/Walk will include a timed 5K Run, an untimed 5K Walk, and a 1-Mile Fun Walk.  The run begins at 8 am and the walk at 9 am with registration starting at 7 am at the Tanger Outlet’s Seaside Location in the Applebee’s parking lot. You can register online here. For more information about the DE-feet Breast Cancer Run/Walk, please visit www.defeetbreastcancerwalk.org. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Houben

Linda (center) with her daughter and son
Read this Q & A with Linda Houben of Wilmington, DE. Linda is a 6-year breast cancer survivor and a DBCC volunteer and trained Peer Mentor. Linda volunteers at the DE-feet BreastCancer 5K, Annual Emile Henry Warehouse Sale and various outreach events. She also volunteers at the Northern Lights of Life gala, and modeled in the 2007 gala’s fashion show. Read below to find out how she got involved with DBCC.
What led to your involvement with DBCC?
I was looking through a magazine one day in my oncologist’s office about a year after my breast cancer diagnosis when I saw an article on DBCC.  My first thought was “Wow, I wish I had known about this when I was first diagnosed.”  I didn’t go to any support groups when I was diagnosed and didn’t have a breast cancer survivor to talk to. Some of the questions I had were small personal ones, and now I know there are mentors who could talk to me about their experience.
What made you decide to become a peer mentor?
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I didn’t know this organization was available to me.  Once I saw the article in the magazine about DBCC, I knew I had to get involved.  It’s very uplifting and it warms my heart to “Pay it Forward!”
What have been some of your favorite volunteer opportunities with DBCC?
My favorite part of being a volunteer with DBCC is all the men and women I’ve met over the years who are survivors.  Some that have crossed my path have not survived and I’m thankful each day for having known them. 
What is a memorable moment you have had being a mentor to someone else through their own breast cancer journey?
Each call with a recently diagnosed person is memorable.  I’m there when needed at a very delicate time in someone’s life.
Anything else you would like to add about DBCC or yourself?
The DBCC staff is like my extended family. I always have a good time volunteering and I enjoy knowing that I am helping to educate people about breast cancer. I even run into a lot of the same people while volunteering and that’s nice.
For information about how you can become a DBCC volunteer, click here. For more information about the Peer Mentor Program, click here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Rosemary Engle

Read a Q& A with DBCC Volunteer and Peer Mentor
Rosemary Engle of Dover


What led you to your involvement with DBCC?

I actually attended the Southern Lights of Life gala before I was involved or knew how to be involved with DBCC. I then called DBCC to inquire about volunteering and was immediately invited to the Peer Mentor Training. I have been involved ever since.

What made you decide to become a peer mentor?
After attending the training, there was no question that this program was a very positive way to be involved with fellow survivors. The training itself gave me a feeling of support that I never experienced since my own diagnosis of breast cancer. We were all able to relate in a special way with each other as we shared a unique common bond. The atmosphere was one that allowed us to comfortably express our feelings and experiences that resulted from our survival journey. I knew that if I could help another survivor to gain that same freedom of expression, then this program was for me.

What have been some of your favorite volunteer opportunities with DBCC?

I have enjoyed every volunteer experience with DBCC, but I must say that being on the Fashion Show Committee for the 2012 Southern Lights of Life Gala has been my favorite opportunity.

What is a memorable moment you have had being a mentor to someone else through their breast cancer journey?
The most memorable moment as a Peer Mentor was when my mentee and I first met for lunch and we really enjoyed sharing so much. We eventually became friends and continue to keep in touch now that she has completed her treatment and can enjoy being cancer-free.

Rosemary (right) with DBCC Program Manager Lois Wilkinson at a Nurture with Nature event

Anything else you would like to add about DBCC or yourself?
I think that all survivors who reach out to DBCC and their various programs are able to continue their involvement and be part of the DBCC family of survivors. There are wonderful programs and events like Nurture With Nature, Southern Lights of Life, volunteer work at various health fairs, educational events, and other community activities that can keep survivors busy and involved year-round. It’s great to be able to help DBCC as a survivor, even in any small way.

Rosemary is the Co-Chair of the Fashion Committee for the 2012 Southern Lights of Life which will be held on Saturday, February 25 from 6 to 10 pm at Dover Downs! Local breast cancer survivors will be models for the evening and wear fashions from local retailers.

If you are a breast cancer survivor and are interested in helping newly diagnosed patients through their journeys, click here to learn more about the Peer Mentor Support Program. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, click here.

Two DBCC Volunteers are awarded Bank of America Local Heroes Award

Carol Knotts (left) and Bev Michel

 Two dedicated Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition volunteers have been awarded the prestigious Bank of America Local Heroes Award.  Sisters Carol Knotts and Bev Michel have been volunteering with the coalition for years helping with the Northern Lights of Life gala each fall and the Southern Lights of Life gala in the late winter. Knotts, of Chadds Ford, Pa., has raised over $300,000 for the coalition by obtaining donations for the live and silent auctions for the Northern Lights of Life event. Michel, of West Chester, donates her time and talent as a master photographer/owner of Bev Michel Photography. Michel donates portraits of the models for the Lights of Life galas and photographs the event.

The Bank of America Local Heroes Award is for those who exemplify the bank’s highest standards in community service, are champions for a vital cause, inspire others to get involved and have a special and significant impact on individuals, families, and their community. Knotts and Michel were awarded a $5,000 grant and directed their grant to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.

Thank you Carol and Bev for your hard work and dedication to the fight against breast cancer!

Giving back: Mentees become DBCC Peer Mentors

“Only people who have walked the walk can tell you what it is like,” says Barbara Nolan, breast cancer survivor and DBCC peer mentor.  Barbara, who resides in Bear, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2009.  “When I first found out I had breast cancer, I was panicked.”

In search of a local support group, Barbara came across DBCC’s website and called DBCC Program Director, Cathy Holloway.  “She soothed a lot of my fears before my surgery,” Barbara said.  Cathy then matched her with a peer mentor, a breast cancer survivor who is trained to provide support to those newly diagnosed.

“It’s rare to have an instant bond with someone you don’t know but my mentor and I became good friends.”    

Program Manager Connie Holdridge mentoring.

Diane Duncker feels the same way.  Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer while moving from York, Pa. to Lewes.  “I was diagnosed around the holidays and had no family or support down here.  And I didn’t really know anyone who had been through it at that time,” she said.  Diane was put in touch with DBCC and was matched with a mentor.  “My mentor was great with calling and helping me through my journey.”

After being diagnosed in December 2008, Gail Lanouette of Dover was referred to DBCC by her surgeon.  “Within 10 days of my diagnosis I had an entire package of information from DBCC and a card from Lois [DBCC Program Manager],” she said.  “I called Lois and she was so supportive and calmed my fears.”  Gail was matched with a peer mentor who had a similar surgery and treatment plan.

Gail was told by her doctors that she qualified for a clinical trial.  “I had so many questions so I called Lois and she was great at guiding me through the questions.”  Gail chose to enroll in the clinical trial.  “I knew the medicine that was helping me was made possible by other woman who enrolled in a clinical trial so I had to do it.”

Gail Lanouette (right) with Program Manager Lois Wilkinson

After Barbara, Diane and Gail went through surgery and treatment, they decided to become Peer Mentors themselves.  “Once I felt strong enough to help someone else, I signed up for the training,” Barbara said.  DBCC hosts quarterly Peer Mentor training sessions in all three counties and at Union Hospital in Cecil County, Md.  The Peer Mentor Support Program provides one-on-one support for a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient from a trained breast cancer survivor.

“I knew when I finished chemo that I wanted to give back and help other women through their journey,” Gail said.

“Because if I didn’t have a mentor, I don’t think I would have been able to figure it all out.”

Gail has mentored a few women and says the peer mentor training has also helped her mentor some friends through their breast cancer journeys.  “My husband was my best supporter but it is so important to have other women.  Other ladies told me it was okay to feel tired and sick and shared tips with me to keep me more comfortable through my treatment,” she said.  Gail explained that small pieces of wisdom like where to get lymphedema sleeves or to use cooling gel after radiation made all the difference.

Because Gail went through a clinical trial, she also participated in the DBCC Clinical Trial Peer Mentor Training program.  The program is for survivors who have participated in clinical trials and want to help those newly diagnosed make educated decisions about clinical trials and dispel some of the myths about trials and research.  For more information, click here.

“DBCC is phenomenal,” Gail says.  “They do so much for so many people.  DBCC helps those newly diagnosed through the journey – emotionally and physically.  And this program is important because those newly diagnosed look at all the survivors who have been there and then they know they will be there too,” Gail said.

“When you are a peer mentor you form warm relationships and such a great camaraderie with the women you mentor,” Barbara said.  The Peer Mentor Support Program is available to those newly diagnosed at no charge.  “When I meet people in the community who receive a breast cancer diagnosis, I always recommend they call DBCC and get a peer mentor,” Diane said.

To learn more about the Peer Mentor Support Program, click here or call 1-866-312-DBCC.