In 2012, long time Red Cross volunteer, Janice Lehman, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two weeks after her surgery, she postponed her subsequent chemo treatment to deploy as a shelter manager for Hurricane Sandy victims.
“I was supposed to start chemo but I told my husband I just have to go; it’s in my blood now,” Lehman recalls. “I just felt such love for these people whose homes were swept away. I knew I couldn’t leave them stranded; I knew I could take a little back seat for a few weeks.”
Janice began working with the Red Cross as a Disaster Action Team volunteer. It wasn’t long before she knew she had found her passion, and wanted to do more. Now Janice responds to disasters locally and nationally, unable to turn away from helping those who need her most.
In the past few months, the Western Carolinas Region has seen more disasters than in previous years, averaging 2-3 incidents per day. The increase in responses has prompted not only a need for more monetary donations, but a need for more volunteers who are willing to donate their time and energy to serve others.
“I couldn't believe that these people were here and they didn’t even know me,” said local fire victim, Karen Karpowicz-Nelson, of her experience with Red Cross volunteers. To victims like Karen, who have endured fires and other disasters, the help and hope provided by Red Cross volunteers is irreplaceable. Because of the work of our volunteers who are making use of essential donor dollars in the field every day, the Red Cross has the capacity to change lives.