Years spent working in the Airforce, which included frequent moves to new locations, helped Deb Davis become very comfortable with change. However, since her retirement, volunteering at Wellspring has been a constant in Deb’s life that has helped her keep grounded, and in one place for the past 16 years.
“The fact that I can uniquely make a difference; that I’m constantly reminded of how brave and inspiring people are and the companionship of other Wellspring volunteers and staff, are things that keep me volunteering,” says Deb. “Wellspring is a community of like-minded folk that I treasure.”
Deb discovered Wellspring in February 1998, about 2 months after she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Even with a wonderful supportive spouse at home, she found great benefit in attending Wellspring programs like the Breast Cancer Support Group and Relaxation and Visualization.
Soon afterwards, Deb transitioned from being a Wellspring member to a peer support volunteer, someone who listens, understands, and provides wisdom and hope to other Wellspring members. “It is such a huge reassurance to people newly diagnosed with cancer, to be met by a cancer survivor in peer support” says Deb. “I think it’s brilliant.”
Deb has also volunteered her time delivering Wellspring materials to hospitals, manning Wellspring information booths, and as a front desk volunteer, however peer support has always been her main role and passion.
“Sometimes after you do a peer support session, you may feel that you have not accomplished anything of significance, but then a few weeks later when you see that member and they acknowledge just how beneficial your conversation was for them, then you realize that what we as volunteers is so worthwhile,” says Deb. “You are touched because they are touched.”
Deb’s dedication and strong belief in the peer support model is evident. Her own experiences as a cancer survivor, caregiver and being bereaved provide valuable insight during her peer support sessions. She continues to educate herself on the latest advances in cancer treatment by attending lectures and discussion series in order to stay current. Extremely loyal to Wellspring and its mission, Deb always ensured that her primary focus is meeting the members’ needs.
“Volunteering is a delightful way to be part of Wellspring,” says Deb. “I cannot imagine doing anything more fulfilling than doing peer support”.