BCs Beverly Perry among honored volunteers
“Gift of Life” to Recognize More Than 400 Volunteers
“Think of your fellow man. Lend him a helping hand. Put a little love in your heart.” These meaningful words from the song, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” provide the inspiration for the Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program’s third annual Volunteer Appreciation Party, recognizing more than 400 dedicated individuals who have contributed over 4,800 hours of service this year to help make Southeast Texas a better place.
In celebration of National Volunteer Week, the “Gift of Life,” with event emcee Bill Leger, KFDM – Channel 6 News Anchor, applauded and showcased their appreciation to valued volunteers on Monday, April 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Harvest Club in Beaumont.
It was a night to remember, guests enjoyed a delicious dinner from Courville Catering, uplifting musical entertainment from Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church Choir and Chuck Isles, followed by special remarks from guest speaker Judge John Stevens, of the Jefferson County Criminal District Court.
Each year, hundreds of “Gift of Life” volunteers, including more than 50 medical professionals and over 70 cancer survivors, give countless hours of their time and talents to help this program accomplish the mission of “Saving Lives.”
Gale Colletti, “Gift of Life” Volunteer Coordinator, said, “Every volunteer has a unique and vital role in our program, from those who devote themselves to the various breast, prostate and tobacco initiatives, to the cancer survivors themselves, who touch the lives of others by sharing their stories of hope. We are extremely thankful that these outstanding individuals embrace our mission and provide compassion and concern to people throughout Southeast Texas.”
Volunteers “make a world of difference,” and during the evening’s presentation, the “Gift of Life” will honor “Spirit of Volunteerism” Award recipients Beverly Perry, Ray Bryant and James Nichols.
Before Perry could return to her seat, she was called back and named Volunteer of the Year.
An active volunteer since 2003, Perry approaches every opportunity to help others with heartfelt exuberance. She generously donates time to every prostate cancer screenings, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month Kickoff, the YMBL’s “Tough Enough To Wear Pink” event, the tobacco-free programs, and is a devoted supporter of “Gift of Life” activities.
“Volunteering with this organization gives me a sense of belonging and strengthens my belief in serving others,” Perry said. “I don’t think there’s any other program in this area that does a better job of helping people than the ‘Gift of Life.’”
Bryant, a 25 year prostate cancer survivor, has been an active volunteer since 2005 and annually participates with the prostate cancer screenings to “get the word out to all men” about the importance of early detection. Never one to say “No,” Bryant has participated at educational outreaches, manned the “Gift of Life” booth at the Southeast Texas State Fair, and assisted at the Miracle Match For Life Golf Tournament.
Nichols has been an invaluable part of the prostate cancer screenings conducted in September and is always eager to donate his time and speaking talent to the “Sundays in August and September” initiative. His moving and inspiring speeches at area churches encourage men to take advantage of the “Gift of Life’s” free lifesaving screenings.
For more information on the Volunteer Appreciation Party, or to become a volunteer, please call Gale Colletti at the “Gift of Life” at (409) 833-3663 or toll-free (877) 720-GIFT (4438).
The “Gift of Life” Mission Statement is attached.
Mission and Annual Programming
The “Gift of Life” is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in Beaumont, Texas, serving all of Southeast Texas. Operating for 13 years, the agency is dedicated to providing Southeast Texans extensive educational outreach that focuses on breast, prostate, and testicular cancer; free mammograms and prostate cancer screenings with access to follow-up treatment for medically underserved men and women; and a tobacco prevention and cessation program which targets adults and children.
A cooperative effort of Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospitals, the Julie & Ben Rogers Cancer Institute, the Dauphin Cancer Screening & Prevention Center, local physicians, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston and its local clinics, the UTMB Cancer Stop Program, and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the “Gift of Life” has funded nearly 13,800 free mammograms and more than 4,600 free prostate cancer screenings, and has conducted more than 480 educational outreach programs since its inception, reaching nearly 60,000 people. In addition, the “Gift of Life” has helped extend the lives of more than 125 individuals who have been diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer and provided access to treatment through its efforts.
As one of the largest cancer screening and awareness organizations of its type in Texas, the “Gift of Life” directly serves more than 20,000 recipients annually (in addition to publishing a program newsletter several times a year that is distributed to over 15,000 people in Southeast Texas and beyond and conveys the important message of early detection). Each year, cancer awareness information is disseminated to thousands of individuals at 60 educational outreach presentations and area health fairs; approximately 500 men receive free prostate cancer screenings; 750 medically underserved women receive free mammograms at Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospitals in Beaumont and Orange; and 750 additional women are given free mammograms and clinical breast exams on the UTMB-Galveston mobile van at 20 Southeast Texas van sites. Access to follow-up care for eligible individuals who need testing and treatment following their screenings is also provided. Further, the “Gift of Life” minivan is available for clients who require transportation to and from the program’s cancer screening tests and exams.
The “Gift of Life” also offers multiple yearly programs including a Survivors’ Celebration honoring breast and prostate cancer survivors. Program services were expanded in 2004 to include the following initiatives: (1) ASPIRE, A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience, featuring M. D. Anderson-developed curriculum introduced into Beaumont Independent School District 9th grade health classes; (2) the Prostate Cancer Support Group, created in association with the American Cancer Society, which meets monthly and now includes more than 50 members; (3) the Testicular Cancer Outreach Program presented to senior males at area high schools; and (4) a Heightened Cancer Awareness Campaign during both Prostate and Breast Cancer Awareness Months; and (5) “Don’t Smoke Your Life Away,” a community-wide anti-smoking campaign targeting both adults and adolescents, launched in 2005.