Cancer Survivor Volunteers with a Happy Tune

Written By:Joy Donovan Brandon

"Every person who comes here is so appreciative and can't stop talking about what a great place Hope Lodge is. I enjoy volunteering here, and the staff is wonderful."

Sherry Thomas
photo of Sherry Thomas volunteering at Hope Lodge Lubbock

Sherry Thomas whistles as she works. That’s because she loves being a volunteer at Hope Lodge Lubbock, where she started helping in 2010, even before the doors opened.

“I went down to volunteer and I enjoyed it so much,” she said. “I think this is where the good Lord put me, and this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Responding to a Lubbock newspaper article about the need for Hope Lodge volunteers, Thomas decided helping cancer survivors was much better than watching TV in her spare time. That was 2010, and when she retired from her 31-year teaching career, she created a second one as a professional volunteer at Hope Lodge Lubbock. The 32-room facility, located near treatment centers, is the first Hope Lodge facility in the state of Texas. Since opening, Hope Lodge Lubbock has provided more than 26,000 nights of free lodging and has saved cancer patients more than $2.9 million in hotel expenses.

And Thomas has been part of the welcoming committee for many of those guests.

A breast cancer survivor, this mother and grandmother knows what it’s like to travel that cancer journey. Now that she’s retired, she has devoted her life to easing others’ burdens. So five days a week, Thomas can be found at the facility with duties that include answering phones, brewing coffee, boiling eggs and even tending laundry.

“I know what they’re going through, and I know what their families feel when someone is going through treatment,” she said. “You couldn’t find stronger, more courageous people than we meet here.”

In addition to other duties, Thomas has decorated dining tables for holidays and has even served as the caller for a lively game of bingo. Her favorite activity? Meeting guests.

“Every person who comes here is so appreciative and can’t stop talking about what a great place Hope Lodge is,” she said. “I enjoy volunteering here, and the staff is wonderful.”

It’s mutual admiration. The staff appreciates what an extraordinary volunteer they have in Thomas.

“Sherry does just a little bit of everything around the Hope Lodge, and everything she does is filled with her kindness and compassion,” said lodge director Robin Gardner. “She always has a smile on her face and offers a caring, listening ear to guests when needed. Sherry makes everything just a little bit better for our patients staying at Hope Lodge through all her good work.”

What Thomas does for Hope Lodge Lubbock she does because she’s happy to be alive and happy to contribute to her community. It’s enough to make a volunteer whistle a happy tune.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

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