Kathy's Story

Recuperating from chemotherapy gives people a lot of time to pursue personal interests: some travel, some find their muse. For Kathy, it was an opportunity to volunteer. "When I got to the end of chemo, I got anxious. I wasn't sure what I was going to do," the 61-year-old Brampton elementary school teacher says. "Then someone told me: 'This is your time to do anything you want.' I felt that I really needed to have a connection to people."

For four months during her recuperation, she volunteered for three days a week at Volunteer MBC, helping to connect individuals who want to volunteer with the community organizations in need of them.

"It was a chance to meet new people, learn new skills, or use skills you haven't used in a long time," she says.

Volunteering is not new for Kathy -- she got involved at her children's school and at her church and has been active in community service clubs.

While she is heartened by the greater emphasis in volunteering in high school, she believes there is still a role for families to encourage students' efforts. "I think today's kids have a broader perspective of community service than what I had. I like the idea. I just hope students continue to volunteer."

Having won her battle with cancer, Kathy returned to her classroom in September 2009 with a fresh appreciation of the importance of getting involved with the community. "I've learned things don't shut down for the summer."

Written by: Brian Christmas