From caregiver to MD Anderson volunteer

Even while she was undergoing chemotherapy to treat stage IV breast cancer, Pat McWaters was passionate about helping other patients. So, in 2005, she and her husband, Roger, signed up to volunteer with MD Anderson’s one-on-one support program – now called myCancerConnection – and in MD Anderson’s Hospitality Centers. Although Pat’s breast cancer had metastasized to her liver, the couple still made volunteering a priority. “Luckily, it was slow-growing, and treatments were quite effective for a while,” Roger recalls. But by 2012, Pat had become very ill. She died that spring. “She did everything she could and fought hard,” Roger says. “I stopped volunteering for a few months,” Roger says. But he decided to don his blue volunteer jacket again and returned to volunteer at the Hospitality Center. “You get a real sense of personal ministry,” he says. “I feel like I can be supportive, and people appreciate it. It helps me, too.” Connecting with patients and caregivers All myCancerConnection Hospitality Center volunteers are either survivors or caregivers. They empathize with patients and loved ones who stop by the Hospitality Centers, which are located in the Main Building and Mays Clinic. “It’s a good place for patients and caregivers to come between appointments,” Roger says. “There are a lot of good conversations, and it’s a place for people to connect.” Some patients want to talk about doctor’s reports, and sometimes people just want a hug, he says. “People tell us how they are and if they’re up for the next treatment,” Roger says. “We get to visit with people about their cancer journeys. I make it a point to...