News from The American Cancer Society SCV Unit – December 2016
Honoring those who give of themselves to help fight cancer and save lives – that is the goal of the American Cancer Society Santa Clarita Valley Unit’s annual Open House and Volunteer Recognition event. Held November 2 at the nonprofit’s Valencia office, this gathering saluted community members who donate their time, energies and resources to the ACS’ mission of curing cancer and creating more birthdays. Whether serving as office helpers, chairing events, being tireless committee members and worker bees for fundraisers, or leading outreach programs, these caring people make up the hands-on make-it-happen foundation of the American Cancer Society.
The Heather Warrick Legacy Award, a most meaningful acknowledgement, was bestowed upon ACS super-volunteer Janine Jones. Poignantly presented to Jones by Warrick’s mother, ACS volunteer Nancy Coulter, the award honors the memory of Warrick – the ACS’ SCV Unit’s health programs manager who died at age 43 in 2013 following a 19-year battle with breast cancer – by recognizing volunteers who exemplify her noble and compassionate characteristics. The determination to fight cancer, help improve others’ lives, and maintain unwavering optimism in the face of adversity, are hallmarks of that legacy.
“I’m incredibly humbled and honored to receive the American Cancer Society’s Heather Warrick Legacy Award,” said Jones, a wife, mother of three and licensed cosmetologist, make-up artist and hair stylist. “My heart is full of love and gratitude, and I share this award with all of the ACS volunteers who continually inspire me by their selflessness and joyful willingness to serve those who have been affected by cancer.”
Nancy Coulter praised Jones, likening her humanitarianism and outlook to her precious daughter’s.
“Cancer awareness is what Heather was all about, helping others on their cancer journey as well as the families of people with cancer – because cancer affects the entire family when someone is diagnosed,” Coulter said. “Janine is a most industrious ambassador for cancer survivors and their families. Her generosity of time, spirit and philanthropy are examples to everyone of a most extraordinary volunteer.”
Jones, a well-known volunteer for many local nonprofits and child-focused causes throughout much of her life, was formerly a Sulphur Springs School Sistrict fourth grade teacher and insurance industry attorney negotiator. She first became acquainted with the ACS in 1999 through participating in Relay For Life with her mother, Sheila Veloz, who was fighting breast cancer. Veloz, who died in 2001, had fervently brought breast cancer awareness to the community despite her hard-fought battle. Embracing that quest, the state-of-the-art Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center was later created on the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital campus. Jones took up her mother’s mission and has thrown herself into the ACS, serving in many capacities, including leadership council member, Relay luminaria committee chair, Relay volunteer chair, Bark For Life committee chair, Look Good Feel Better facilitator, Volunteer Recognition event host, ACS Cancer Action Network activist, CPS-3 (cancer prevention study) chair and facilitator, and more.
The award is heartwarming on a very personal level, said Jones, whose world was again jolted by cancer last year when her daughter Bailey was diagnosed with – and successfully treated for – thyroid cancer.
“Heather was my dear friend, someone I loved dearly and learned so much from about choosing optimism over fear and giving yourself completely to whatever cause or battle that is before you. You don’t give up,” Jones said. “Heather is always with me in spirit, in my heart and memories, and this award is something I will cherish as long as I live.”
Along with Coulter, Donna Nuzzi, ACS SCV Unit Leadership Council chair, and Andrew Emmett, ACS Senior Market Manager, Community Engagement, regaled ACS recognition upon other devoted volunteers through praise and special pins. The recipients included:
Road To Recovery: Sherry Grossman
Relay For Life: Bobby Newquist, Teresa Kerr (Relay and Bark), Laura Peach, Brad Peach, Jennifer Minard, Kymmer Crookston, Emily Curren
Reach to Recovery: Sandy Ends
Office Volunteers: Sandi Lottermoser, Richard Post, Caitlin Rose, Kathleen Pavard
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: Gus Garcia – Rydell Chevrolet
Regional/Community Council Members: Terri Gore
“These people are leading our efforts to do more to save lives and end the pain and suffering of cancer,” Donna Nuzzi said, noting that each awardee “achieves, believes, has great imagination and inspires others.”
In lauding the volunteers, Coulter reminisced about her beloved Heather, emphasizing that “Heather’s legacy is what the American Cancer Society is all about.”
“She loved all of you, both patients and those touched by cancer, and wanted with all her heart to help make things easier and less traumatic,” Coulter said with visible emotion. “She wanted patients to empower themselves with knowledge to fight their disease. Heather fought not only for herself, but for every survivor of cancer.”
For information about the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org. To contact the local ACS office, please call 661-298-0886 option 3. The office is located at 25020 Avenue Stanford #170 in Valencia.
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