Last week national volunteer week

Dear Editor,

Roughly 10,000 people in central Ohio--including myself--volunteer for the American Cancer Society. And there are tens of thousands of others who volunteer for countless organizations and causes throughout greater Columbus.

April 19-25 was National Volunteer Week, and I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who donates their most precious gift--their time.

In 1998 after my eldest son Michael visited the doctor for stomach pain, I received a phone call that changed my life. "Helen this is Dr. Passias. Michael's abdomen is filled with tumors."

My father-in-law died of bladder cancer, and my mother-in-law died of complications related to a brain tumor. Now I was spending Christmas day with my son while he underwent an intense 6-hour chemotherapy treatment. Michael had lost an enormous amount of weight and a visible tumor was growing on his neck.

Thankfully, Michael is now cancer free. But because of this experience I have become an outspoken volunteer for the American Cancer Society. I visit lawmakers in Columbus and Washington, D.C. and push them to make access to treatment and health care for everyone a top priority.

In honor of National Volunteer Week, I encourage everyone to select a cause they are passionate about and donate a few hours a week, a few hours a month. I've learned through my experiences that every moment counts. Volunteering has changed my life, and it can change yours. We can all make a difference.

Helen Mayle

President

Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce

(614) 286-2675