Volunteer Spotlight: Pallav K. Mehta, MD
Volunteers make the work the Living Beyond Breast Cancer staff does every day possible. From in-office support to event staffing and peer helpline calls, people like you help us strive toward our vision of a world where no one with breast cancer feels uninformed or alone.
To celebrate the people who devote so much of their time to LBBC’s programs and resources we’ve started Volunteer Spotlight, a series to share more about who they are and why they do what they do.
Pallav K. Mehta, MD is a medical oncologist/hematologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden, New Jersey, where he is also the director of integrative oncology and director of practice development. Dr. Mehta is a member of LBBC's Board of Directors and a frequent speaker and reviewer for LBBC's programs and resources.
What’s your favorite thing about volunteering in your community?
I enjoy the fact that it can be completely different from my work or simply be an extension of it. I have been able to connect with my community and even become closer with family and friends through various volunteer activities. From driving launch boats for high school crew, to timing at swim meets, to many years of coaching baseball, to simply accepting pro bono speaking opportunities at various cancer related organizations, I have had the great pleasure of meeting some interesting adults and children and have heard their stories.
What’s the most unique volunteer activity you’ve ever done?
I once gave a talk about cancer for a gathering of 20 or so senior citizens at a retirement facility that was obviously for those whose families could not afford much. I began it as I always do with slides and rehearsed lines but quickly realized my approach was not at all working. So I shut down the projector and closed my laptop and instead just started to talk to them, even individually. And instead of lecturing, I asked questions. I listened to those who could talk and simply tried to engage them in a dialogue rather than my usual monologue. It worked well and after a few months, I received a thank you note from one of the elderly African American gentlemen. We had talked about his father having played in the negro leagues (I am a huge baseball fan) and he sent me a ball that was not signed but in the note said that Satchel Paige (a famous pitcher) had pitched with this ball.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I am a standup comedy junkie and often write down what I think are funny observations of mine. One day, I may get up the courage to actually perform it. I had several years of stuff and then, during an iPhone update, I lost it all. I was able to retrieve about half of it, so I’m building it back up!
When you’re not volunteering, what are people likely to find you doing?
I spend as much time with my wife and children as possible because, doing what I do for a living, I know this whole thing can be fleeting. I’m also the weird guy who goes to movies by myself at 10 p.m. (after they’ve been out for several weeks as I don’t want a noisy crowd). I love film and movies and find the time in a theater by myself to be like meditation.
Thank you to Dr. Mehta and all of our volunteers. If you would like to volunteer for LBBC, visit our page on volunteering.