April is normally a busy month. As previews of spring start popping up across the nation and the long winter hibernations end, people begin feeling an itch to get out in newly-discovered sunlight. The country uses this burst of energy to celebrate National Volunteers Month – a month honoring all of the volunteers throughout the country as well as encouraging volunteerism from others. Though spring continues on as normal, this year will see a dramatic change in National Volunteers Month. Current volunteers will be celebrated from afar and the recruitment of new volunteers will likely stand still as the country practices self-isolation and experiences business closures. However, while adhering to self-isolation guidelines is applauded, the country needs volunteers now more than ever.
Cancer patients are one of the many groups who are immunocompromised, or have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. While many Americans are self-isolating to reduce the spread of disease and flatten the curve, cancer patients are self-isolating to save their lives. It is important, however, that patients continue receiving treatment unless showing symptoms or are otherwise advised by their care team. During this time, patients may find it difficult securing transportation to and from their appointments. Young, healthy individuals with private transportation could embrace National Volunteer Month by providing lifesaving services to cancer patients in need. Those who may be able to assist with transportation to appointments or even grocery shopping and other errands should contact a local hospital by phone or email. The hospital may be able to share volunteers’ contact numbers to patients, as well as provide volunteers with information regarding proper disinfecting of vehicles and proper use of personal protection equipment such as gloves.
A large number of organizations across the country also run cancer hotlines managed by volunteers. Additionally, there are volunteer-run hotlines that provide support in difficult times to anyone requiring the support. With increased isolation, more and more Americans may turn to these hotlines for support, hope, or advice. Most volunteer-run hotlines are able to provide virtual training and resources to newly recruited volunteers. Volunteers are often able to set their own schedule, providing support during convenient hours in the day for as many days as is suitable for their schedule.
As the country continues to unite and support each other during this trying time, many organizations continue to look for physical volunteers. Food banks and not-for-profits are specifically looking for people willing to donate, sort, and distribute food to people in isolation. Other organizations seek people able to help with childcare while parents continue to work despite school closures. Interested parties can get involved by reaching out to local organizations or neighbors by phone or email.
National Volunteers Month is a great time to get involved with worthy organizations, however, sometimes one’s schedule does not allow for involvement. To celebrate National Volunteer Month on a tight schedule, consider donating to cancer-fighting organizations. Generosity today leads to breakthroughs of tomorrow, greatly improving the life of millions across the country.
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