Reach to Recovery Leaders Receive Highest Honor

The American Cancer Society awarded three High Plains volunteers the prestigious Terese Lasser Memorial Award, the highest national award for service in the American Cancer Society Reach to Recovery program. The award is presented annually by Divisions to an individual or group in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Reach to Recovery program.

The award was developed to recognize exceptional achievement, performance, and dedication to the Reach to Recovery program. It honors the memory of Terese Lasser, who began Reach to Recovery in 1952, following her own breast cancer experience.

Reach to Recovery is a program in which breast cancer survivors provide one-on-one support and information to help individuals cope with breast cancer. Specially trained survivors serve as volunteers, responding in person or by phone to the cancers of people facing breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, recurrence, or recovery.

Brenda Vann- Kansas City, Mo.

Diagnosed at age 40, Brenda had a mastectomy and has been a dedicated volunteer for Reach to Recovery since 1992. She has been involved in the Reach to Recovery Steering Committee for the Kansas City Metro Office since April of 1996. She has been a certified Trainer of Trainers since 1997 and was certified as an Early Support Trainer since 1997. Her education and expertise are greatly valued by the committee and those she trains.

"Brenda makes herself readily available for any assignment, even if it is out of her geographic location and we are in need of someone to help patients," said Diane Freeman, regional vice president for the Kansas City/Northern Missouri Region. "We are so grateful to have Brenda to help patients in the Kansas City area. Brenda gives of herself in every endeavor, going above and beyond the call of duty," said Diane.

Paula Sheridan and Brenda Vann

Paula Sheridan- Kansas City, Mo.

Paula was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 at the age of 50. "I wanted to give hope to others and decided to volunteer for the Reach to Recovery program," said Paula. She was trained in 1989 and has served local breast cancer survivors in the Kansas City area for 16 years. Paula is trained in Early Support and has been involved with the Reach to Recovery Steering Committee for the Kansas City Metro office since 1998. She is a certified trainer and a co-trainer for new volunteers.

"All her trainings are conducted with the highest quality of presentation, as well as entertainment, when she transforms into the 'Reach volunteer' in the scenario of what not to do during a visit," said Diane Freeman, regional vice president for the Kansas City/Northern Missouri Region. "Her scenario and other presentations are very effective in helping the newly trained volunteers.

Dianna Hite- Omaha, Neb.

Dianna Hite and Lori Prine
Dianna began her breast cancer journey at the young age of 33.She found a lump through a self-breast exam and a mammogram confirmed she had cancer. She had a lumpectomy, a mastectomy, six months of chemotherapy, and took Tamoxifen for 10 years. "When I was in the hospital, a Reach to Recovery volunteer came to visit me and she lifted my spirits so much," said Dianna, "I want to do the same for others. I want women who go through what I've been through to know that they can make it and survive breast cancer."

Dianna has been a Reach to Recovery volunteers for the past 12 years. She has visited with over 600 newly diagnosed breast patients in that time. "Dianna's energy and enthusiasm motivate her fellow breast cancer survivors to actively and effective participate in the Reach to Recovery program by collaboratively reaching as many patients as we possibly can." said Lori Prine, community manger for health initiatives for Omaha.

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