LBBC Volunteer Awards: Debi Evans ‘Never Seems to Tire’ of Volunteering
Every year, Living Beyond Breast Cancer selects a small group of key volunteers – both individuals and organizations – and recognizes their volunteer efforts with an award. Our 2016 winners received a physical award as a token of our appreciation and will be featured in the Summer 2017 issue of our national newsletter, Insight. We’re also celebrating them here, on LBBC’s blog. We’ve asked a loved one, friend, colleague or employee of each awardee to write about that person or organization as they know them, and about where each awardee’s dedication to volunteerism comes from.
The Caregiver Award is granted to an individual or group that devoted meaningful time to caring for a relative, friend or colleague, helping that person to feel supported, appreciated and loved and to have a good quality of life during breast cancer treatment.
The 2016 Caregiver Award goes to Debi Evans, of Philadelphia, who took care of her sister, Paulette Denise Evans. Paulette died in 2011 after living for almost a decade with metastatic breast cancer.
“We deeply appreciate Debi’s work as a multi-faceted volunteer,” says Lynn Folkman Auspitz, LBBC’s manager of community engagement. “Whether volunteering at LBBC events, being a leader at our LBBC bag stuffing or volunteering as a Community Connector, Debi does it with compassion, boundless energy and dedication. She truly helps LBBC advance our mission of connecting people affected by breast cancer to trusted information and a community of support.”
Debi has also been a Girl Scout leader for 13 years. Below, Debi’s co-leader Desarae, and two parents, Nancy and Nishanta, of girls in Debi’s troop talk about Debi and her passion for helping others:
What can we say about Debi? She is a dedicated caregiver, Girl Scout leader and friend, but most of all she’s a super-dedicated volunteer.
Since we met in 2005 for scouting we have seen the intense pleasure that volunteering gives to her. She has always pushed the girls and us parents to volunteer. What’s that saying she always says? “Give back. Help someone else. It doesn’t take much – just a little time.”
She has always asked the girls to do some type of project to help others. When Hurricane Katrina struck the coast of Louisiana she contacted our Girl Scout Council to see if there was a need for something to help the Girl Scout troops who had been displaced by the floods. We made cards and decorated tote bags and filled them with items for a small troop. The girls fussed that they couldn’t keep the items, but I think in the end they understood the concept of helping someone else, and with that our troop’s annual volunteer efforts began.
Debi has done a lot of caregiving for various people in the years that I have known her but I saw the compassion and love for her volunteer efforts come to the top when her sister was sick with breast cancer. I saw her going from the hospital every day but still making time for scouting trips and adventures. I don’t know how she did it but she would take care of her sister first and then press on for the girls. We parents were amazed with her stamina. When her sister passed in 2011, Debi kept going and she said her sister’s passing made her want to do even more. Debi has always said that volunteering gives her a sense of peace, it gives her time to see and do something else, to meet people who are going through much worse situations. She never seems to tire doing multiple volunteering projects.
Now that Debi is taking care of her mom, a 25-year triple-negative breast cancer survivor, she hasn’t slowed down one bit. If anything, she has added more to her plate. Who else but Debi would take vacation days from her job to volunteer for a cause that she holds so dear?
We are so proud that Living Beyond Breast Cancer has decided to recognize our “Ms. Debi.” She really deserves it. Her selflessness has made all of us better people.
When she talks about Living Beyond Breast Cancer and its goal of getting reliable information out to people impacted by this disease, you can feel the commitment of caring in her voice. She is committed to getting this information out to everyone she comes in contact with, and when she talks about her experiences, you get a look into her heart.