For Dan Ebenhoeh, a Western Michigan University student, volunteering for the American Cancer Society Resource Center at Bronson Methodist Hospital was an easy decision. A volunteer since May 2009, he wants to give back to the Kalamazoo community.
"This community supported me through my brain cancer experience," explains Dan. He was 21 years old when diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago. He showed no symptoms of a brain tumor until he had a seizure while playing soccer. After a biopsy revealed he had cancer, he opted to have surgery to remove the tumor. "I was fortunate that my tumor was in a good location for surgery," says Dan. "They were able to remove 95 percent of the tumor. It was a huge blessing."
After surgery, Dan had radiation with concurrent chemotherapy. "In September of '08 my treatment was completed. That was a great day." Currently, Dan is cancer free. Twice a year he has a MRI to check for a recurrence of cancer.
"I decided I wanted to share my story with other cancer patients," explains Dan. "By volunteering with the ACS Resource Center at Bronson, I get the opportunity encourage them on their journey. I'm living proof that people survive this disease."
The ACS Resource Center at Bronson offers patients access to programs and services that address the needs of those touched by cancer. Volunteers provide an introduction to the American Cancer Society's website (www.cancer.org), clinical trial information, information on the management of treatment side effects, rides to medical appointments, and help with insurance and financial questions. Online, in-person and 24-hour-a-day phone support is available.
Dan enjoys sharing cancer resources with cancer patients in the hospital. "The fatigue and stress that come along with a cancer diagnosis is monumental, so not all cancer patients are receptive right away," says Dan. "But usually after explaining why we are there and that most of the volunteers are cancer survivors themselves, they warm up to us. I tend to have at least one good conversation with a patient every time I volunteer. Each one of those conversations is another life influenced."
The ACS Resource Center is located next to first floor of Bronson's Medical Office Pavillion, 601 John Street. ACS volunteers are there Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the ACS Resource Center, call (269) 349-8719 or (800) 227-2345, or visit www.cancer.org. Volunteers can also be reached by pager at (269) 513-3590.