We continue to be inspired by the hundreds of volunteers who are out there on the front lines spearheading efforts to put colon cancer on the map and changing the face of this disease. That’s why we started the Volunteer of the Quarter feature—honoring and celebrating some of our most passionate, dedicated volunteers and sharing their stories so you can be inspired, too!
This quarter, we’re celebrating John Lloyd, our superstar volunteer who’s been dedicated for six years. From participating in our Buddy Program to being active in My CCA Support, you can always count on John to lend an ear—and tell a great joke!
How long have you been a Colon Cancer Alliance volunteer?
In 2009, I started hanging out in the My CCA Support chat room and welcoming folks who dropped by, particularly during off hours. Back then, the chats were scheduled and were only held a few times a month. I have always been a night person, so it was nice meeting others in the chat when many people were sleeping.
Why did you get involved with the Colon Cancer Alliance?
There is a bond I feel with anyone who’s been told they have cancer. There are emotions that come with the diagnosis that I can't really put into words, but those emotions can make instant friends out of strangers. I had some tough times during treatment and My CCA Support was a place where I could always find empathetic and enlightening people. When I was first diagnosed, I was scared and didn’t know where to find people who had already been through the treatment I was starting; the Colon Cancer Alliance is a place where you can find people who have not only done it, but also get it.
Tell us about the experience of being a Buddy!
Being a Buddy is an honor—it means you get to share the ups and downs as a new friend experiences the joys and fears of the medical system. Sometimes it’s giving a second opinion on the non-medical experience of cancer treatment and sometimes it’s confirming that what someone is feeling is normal. Sometimes it’s just lending an ear—the occasional pity party can actually be good (as long as it doesn't linger too long).
What has been your proudest moment as a volunteer so far?
I love having the opportunity to speak to groups of people about what the Colon Cancer Alliance means to patients.
How has humor played a role in being a survivor?
In my opinion, cancer is way too serious to be taken seriously! I have always loved humor as a way to keep life in perspective.
Tell us your favorite joke!
Oddly, this is a tough question for me. I’m on a constant mission to find one better than the last. I love this cartoon with a wife excitedly telling her gloomy looking spouse about the great news she read on the oncology office bulletin board: “Lose 10 pounds in 30 days guaranteed.” It really points out how different the cancer experience is depending on your perspective.
What advice would you give someone who’s interested in volunteering with the Colon Cancer Alliance?
Volunteering is energizing—you’ll find you get back more than you give. It’s a great way to say “thank you” to everyone who gave you a hand at a difficult time.
Visit our website to learn ways you can get involved!
Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have additional questions about screening or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help!