Volunteer Spotlight: Janice Cowden
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.
Janice Cowden, 62, of Bradenton, Florida was diagnosed with stage I triple-negative early-stage breast cancer in 2011. She was diagnosed with metastatic disease in 2016. Janice is a Breast Cancer Helpline volunteer.
What’s your favorite thing about volunteering in your community?I regularly volunteer as a metastatic breast cancer advocate through social media. I also serve as a volunteer for the LBBC peer matched helpline, via telephone. What I enjoy most about doing these things are the connections I make with others who are living with all stages of breast cancer, and in particular those with metastatic disease. I enjoy helping others, and doing this helps me, as well. I also enjoy educating others and creating awareness about metastatic breast cancer through social media groups and through a private Facebook group that I update regularly.
What’s the most unique volunteer activity you’ve ever done? The most unique volunteer position I held was as a tour guide through our local newspaper printing center when I lived in Ohio. My career was in healthcare (nursing), so I knew nothing about the process of printing a large, county-wide newspaper. The tours involved mostly primary-age school groups, as well as organizations like the Boy Scout and Girl Scouts. Occasionally, groups from local vocational, technical and community colleges would come through, as well.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!I fell in love with higher education as a non-traditional student later in life, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at the age of 52. I found my interests were much broader, my achievement goals much higher and I approached education through a very different lens than I had as a traditional student 30 years prior.
When you’re not volunteering, what are people likely to find you doing?Outside of volunteering as a MBC advocate, my husband and I travel frequently. He retired 7 years ago. Our children and grandchildren live far away and in different states, so most of our travels are to spend time with them in Colorado and Ohio. When I’m at my home in Florida, one can usually find me in my swimming pool, reading or both!
A year ago, I began working part-time at what I refer to as my “hobby job,” which is as a hostess in a model home for a local custom home builder. It offers structure and normalcy to my life outside of advocacy and living with metastatic breast cancer. And, as part of my goal to continue learning and stay current in my MBC advocacy, I often travel to breast cancer conferences to learn about new developments related to MBC.
Thank you to Janice Cowden and all of our volunteers. If you would like to volunteer for LBBC, visit our page on volunteering.