Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, once said, “I feel the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.” This sentiment perfectly describes super volunteers, Norm MacDonald and Nancy Solomon, who are constantly showing us how much MORE they have to give.
This “Jack & Jill of all trades” continually step up and take on the projects that nobody else wants to do. Whether that’s replacing a toilet in the men’s room mere hours before the Survivor’s Day Picnic, running back and forth to the storage unit to set up for events, hauling furniture, or fixing the tiles in the Garden of Hope, Norm and Nancy are definitely the Go-To Volunteers for just about anything the staff needs.
“When Norm and Nancy volunteer for a project, you know it’s something that will be completed at 110% effort,” expresses Operations Director Jessica Gavlik, referring to the numerous projects Norm & Nancy have taken on for CSCVVSB over the years. One of these projects is the Garden of Hope, which also happens to be one of Nancy’s most memorable accomplishments at the center. She and Norm have worked countless hours over the years on various Garden projects, creating a sanctuary where we honor those who have made an impact in our lives.
We asked Norm and Nancy a few questions about volunteering at CSCVVSB.
Q: What initially brought you to CSC?
A: We came to CSC (it was The Wellness Community then) separately in 1996, when our spouses, Kathy and Bob, were first diagnosed with cancer, Kathy with lymphoma and Bob with a brain tumor. They were in a Participant Group facilitated by Marty Nason, and we were in a Caregiver Group together. Our spouses got amazing support in that group. Kathy survived an incredible 9 years after her diagnosis, which Norm attributes in part to the encouragement and fellowship she received. Those years were time together that they would not otherwise have had.
Q: How did you end up married to each other then?
A: In 2009, 13 years after we first met, we ran into each other and reconnected, launching us both into uncharted territory! We were married in 2012, starting a new and unexpected chapter in our lives.
Q: What makes your volunteer experience here a meaningful use of your time?
A: Without Cancer Support Community we would not have been able to successfully manage the emotions that we felt when cancer came into our lives. We are committed to working with CSC as volunteers, to repay in a small way, the gifts we received at a time when we and our loved ones were in need.
Q: What is the biggest personal benefit you receive as a volunteer with CSC?
A: The experience we had as caregivers stays with you and changes you forever. Being connected to CSC is sort of a touchstone that keeps us grounded to our past, while affording us the satisfaction of knowing that our efforts will help to make sure that the important services provided by CSC will continue to be available to all who need them.
Norm and Nancy are the epitome of what it means to utilize the programs at CSCVVSB and then give back when you’re able and ready. After they lost their spouses to cancer, they later found love with each other and continue to contribute to the place that helped them and their loved ones through one of the toughest times in life.