ACS Leadership Council Chair Sandy Ends Retires
When I contacted Sandy Ends to request an interview, her first words to me were “There are sooo many other deserving volunteers for recognition.” But I insisted, despite her hesitance, that the Santa Clarita chapter of the American Cancer Society be allowed to honor her. Sandy is a 33-year resident of Santa Clarita and the current chair of our local ACS Leadership Council. She has been a devoted and organized leader of the Council since January 2017. This month she will be stepping down, and despite her small stature, she leaves big shoes to fill.
Nineteen years ago, Sandy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through a serendipitous connection with Sheila Veloz, in whose memory The Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center was later named, Sandy was introduced to Heather Warrick and the Choose Hope support group. This group was exactly what she needed as a recent breast cancer survivor, and it initiated her into the realm of ACS volunteerism. Since then she has been involved in the Reach to Recovery program for which she became a national trainer of new volunteers. She played an organizing role in the CARE SCV Resource Expo and the SCV Cancer Coalition. She continues to support many ACS fundraising events including Bark For Life, the holiday boutique, and Relay For Life as a 19-year participant.
Sandy’s passion for volunteerism was cultivated when as a child she would accompany her neighbor through their community requesting donations for various non-profits including the American Cancer Society. When this neighbor died of cancer, it affected her deeply and she never forgot it. Sandy went on to have a successful career as a human resources executive, having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, but she never lost her compassion for those in need. In recent years, Sandy has undertaken community outreach as an ACS guest speaker and presenter at various health fairs, employer workshops, and community events. Sandy’s mission for almost two decades has been to raise awareness about cancer, to educate, and to provide support services.
Sandy is not only a 19-year breast cancer survivor but also a five-month pancreatic cancer survivor. She says what keeps her going is the ACS mission of “paying back, paying forward.” Nancy Coulter, past chair of the Leadership Council and friend of Sandy says, “Sandy is passionate about doing all she can to educate people about cancer awareness. She sees a need and jumps in to fill it. She’s been a strong leader of our local ACS Leadership Council, guiding and expanding participation in our various programs and services to the benefit of our community.” We are grateful for Sandy’s many years of service. We honor her selfless devotion to causes greater than herself. We wish her well as she travels and enjoys retirement in the company of Steve, her husband of 42 ½ years. Sandy will never be far away if we need her guidance.
Mary Petersen is a COC English Instructor, longtime SCV resident, and two-time breast cancer survivor.
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