From the Front Desk

2019 – AUGUST:
From the Front Desk
at Cancer Care Services

There’s no way to know exactly what brings a person to our door before they arrive. But there is one way to let anyone struggling with cancer know they’ve come to a place where they will be welcomed and respected, and that is to greet them with a smile.

Without necessarily instructing them to do so, the many volunteers who staff our reception desk throughout the week each have developed this same standard procedure – and while it may seem common sense, the satisfaction they derive from the simplest of gestures is immense. Says one, “In the world we live in, too many people are plugged into their phone, tablet, and themselves. Less and less are people plugged into others and what is going on around them. When clients come in I always greet them with a smile and make a personal comment to them. I try to make them feel special and important when they walk in the door at CCS. I was in the same boat in 2013-14, going through cancer myself, and can relate to much of what the clients I see coming in are dealing with. You never know when just a simple thing like that can brighten someone’s otherwise dark day. Sometimes people just need someone to take the time to look up, see them, and listen for a minute.” —Nancy

Or, when the phone rings, “I am the first voice that a client will hear when they finally have time to pick up the phone and call. I want to make sure that I am as helpful and happy for them, to make their experience at CCS as positive as possible from the very first contact.” —Jackie

These volunteers don’t take anything for granted. Some even tailor their wardrobe to suit the occasion, “I try to present a cheerful welcome as people come in the door because I know from experience that sometimes it can be little things like bright colors (rather than medical scrubs) that can add up to make a big difference in someone’s otherwise difficult day.” —Gena

Of course, CCS clients come in all ages, ethnicities, genders – from many different backgrounds but all with cancer in common. Just like our clients, our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences: many are cancer survivors or caregivers; others are former healthcare professionals. Not all of them, however, understood the breadth and depth of what Cancer Care Services makes available to our community until they started spending time in the building.

“CCS provides such a variety of support – for all; CCS fills in some of the gaps that are lacking in our healthcare system.” —Marilyn

“I learned that the organization supports caregivers and survivors as well as patients. I don’t think caregivers always know that they need support too so the fact that CCS works to make people aware of their programs is so important.” —Gena

“I was really touched to learn how CCS supports children who are dealing with cancer in their lives, in their homes with play therapy and other events specifically geared toward children and their family units.” —Gena

“Cancer can strike anyone, in any walk of life, at any time in their life. I have learned that once you “beat” cancer, there are still so many mental and physical and financial challenges that need to be dealt with for many years after. I am so grateful to be able to share the knowledge that CCS exists and is here to help people of all types.” Jackie

“As a volunteer, I have learned a lot more about how CCS works – more than I knew when I was working as an RN Case Manager making referrals for my patients. I wish more local Case Managers and Social Workers could spend just a few hours in the CCS building to better understand how the agency can help lighten the load for many; it really is an oasis in the midst of dysfunction in the healthcare system.” —Marilyn

In some instances, laughter may be the best medicine, but around the offices of Cancer Care Services, a smile is a powerful tool we use on a daily basis. It’s part of our culture because it serves as an outward expression of hope, comfort, and connection between human beings finding their way.

“I love helping connect clients to resources they need through our social work team but I also really love my one on one time with them at the desk, too. I was lucky one day to have a set of donated Texas Rangers baseball tickets to give to a family for free; they were so surprised and cried tears of happiness at the opportunity to spend some time away from doctors and simply focus on being a family and having fun. I still smile when I think about it.” —Jocelyn Calderon, CCS Office Coordinator

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
– Mother Teresa