One evening in the fall of 2015, I happened to see a segment about the CareBOX program on the local news. As I listened to a Father talk about receiving the surprising news that his young son was diagnosed with cancer, I could hear the pain and shock in his voice. He and his wife had no idea what to do or how to prepare for their sons cancer treatment, much less how they would juggle jobs, getting their other children to school and keeping up with all of the usual household chores. Then, I could hear a sense of relief in his voice as he began to talk about CareBOX and how they alleviated a huge burden for the family by quickly stepping in with the supplies his son needed and delivered them right to the front door. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I immediately went to the CareBOX website and saw there were several patients in need of supplies, but one patient in particular stood out to me. He was in his seventies and had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After years of caring for aging parents and knowing what the challenges are for the aging with health issues, I knew I had to help this patient and immediately funded the supplies he had requested.
Shortly after that, Lisa Keefauver, Communications & Program Director, reached out and asked if I would like to meet the CareBOX team. I was so impressed that she reached out that I gladly accepted, however I had no idea of the unexpected journey I was about to embark upon. When I met the team it was obvious they had a strong passion and commitment to improving cancer care, it was absolutely contagious. When Lisa asked if I would be interested in volunteering it was an emphatic, “YES”. It was a three person team at the time, Lisa, Jillian Domingue, Founder & Executive Director, Diana Dobson, Event & Fundraising Director and two interns. They were in a small office with two tables and surrounded by the patient supplies. As a volunteer, I sorted supplies and packed boxes and while it may seem insignificant, it felt rewarding to know that a patient would receive much needed items and it would be one less thing for them and the family to do. Then, I made my first patient delivery to a young child. When I saw the gratitude and relief on the Mother’s face it was overwhelming and that’s when I realized what a difference CareBOX was making in the lives of cancer patients and their families.
Helping those in need and making a personal connection is not just rewarding, its life changing. Today, CareBOX has far exceeded expectations. The team has added two more employees, Melissa Wilson, Volunteer Coordinator and Rhiannon Nunziato, Logistics & Supply Chain Manager and the office space has doubled in size to accommodate more supplies for the increasing number of patients. I’m amazed how far this organization has come in the last few months and I’m so proud to be a part of it. Currently CareBOX serves patients in the Austin area with a goal to branch out to other cities and beyond in the future. I have no doubt we will reach that goal. This success is driven by the hard work and dedication of the CareBOX team and a group of volunteers that are committed to improving cancer care. It has truly been an unexpected journey that is still going strong.
Tammy Sullivan, Volunteer and Board Member