Volunteerism and the commitment to eradicate cancer were celebrated recently when the American Cancer Society Santa Clarita Valley Unit held its annual Open House and Volunteer Recognition event. The gathering saluted community members who donate their time, energies, and resources to the ACS’ mission of curing cancer and creating more birthdays.
The much-respected Heather Warrick Legacy Award was bestowed upon ACS super-volunteer Janine Jones. Presented to Jones by Warrick’s mother, fellow ACS veteran volunteer Nancy Coulter, the award honors the memory of Warrick, who died in 2013 following a 19-year metastatic breast cancer battle. Only 43 when she passed, Warrick was the ACS SCV Unit’s health programs manager for many years, including during her myriad oncology treatments and complications. A woman cherished for her resolve to fight cancer and help those affected by it, as well as for her hope and humor, Warrick’s legacy is celebrated by recognizing volunteers who possess her noble characteristics.
“Heather’s legacy is what the ACS is all about, all of us working together to find a cure for cancer in our lifetime,” Nancy Coulter said through a smile and tears. “My Heather’s legacy not only lives on, it is exemplified by our own Janine Jones.”
Visibly moved, Jones, a wife, mother of three, and licensed cosmetologist, make-up artist and hair stylist, said she was honored by the recognition.
“Heather was my dear friend and I loved her,” she said. “I learned so much from her about choosing hope over hopelessness, and giving your entire self to whatever battle you’re faced with. This award is something I will cherish as long as I live, and I share it with all of the ACS volunteers who inspire me by their selflessness and willingness to serve those affected by cancer.”
A veteran volunteer for many local non-profits and child-focused causes, Jones joined forces with ACS in 1999 through Relay for Life participation with her mother, Sheila Veloz. At the time, Veloz was fighting breast cancer and soon became an activist for promoting breast cancer awareness and early detection within the SCV community.
Following Veloz’ 2001 death, that proactive mission was solidly built into the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Center, which was created on the Henry Mayo campus. In the time since, Jones has passionately embraced her mother’s mission and ACS devotion, serving in numerous volunteer capacities, including leadership council member; Relay luminaria committee chair; Relay Volunteer chair; Bark For Life committee chair; Look Good Feel Better facilitator; Volunteer Recognition event host; ACS Cancer Action Network activist, and CPS-3 (cancer prevention study) chair/facilitator. Jones’family was again struck by cancer last year when her daughter Bailey was diagnosed with (and successfully treated for) thyroid cancer.
Other loyal ACS volunteers received praise that evening. Whether serving as office helpers, event chairs and committee members, fundraiser worker bees or leading ACS outreach programs, volunteers comprise the non-profit’s community foundation.
Coulter, with Donna Nuzzi, ACS SCV Unit Leadership Council chair, and Andrew Emmett, ACS Senior Market Manager, Community Engagement, regaled the volunteers with acclaim and colorful cloisonné pins.
Road To Recovery: Sherry Grossman
Relay For Life: Bobby Newquist, Teresa Kerr (Relay and Bark), Laura Peach, Brad Peach, Jennifer Minard, Kymmer Crookston, Emily Curren
Reach to Recovery: Sandy Ends
Office Volunteers: Sandi Lottermoser, Richard Post, Caitlin Rose, Kathleen Pavard
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: Gus Garcia – Rydell Chevrolet
Regional/Community Council Members: Terri Gore
Donna Nuzzi praised the volunteers, citing words on their pins that describe their ACS commitment and special qualities: “Achieve, believe, imagination, and inspire.”
“They’re all making a positive difference in the fight against cancer and increasing survivorship. These great people are leading the ACS’ efforts to save lives and end the pain and suffering of cancer,” the council chair added.
For American Cancer Society info: www.cancer.org