Meet Amy Mitchell, one of our volunteers at the Binaytara Foundation! She supported our BTF ASH Annual Meeting Review in Portland, OR on January 6-7, 2023. One of our staff interviewed her about her experience with BTF and how she gives back to her community.
How did you find out about the Binaytara Foundation?
“I heard about the Binaytara Foundation through Volunteer Match. I was looking to serve my community and support cancer-related causes. Tiani Grosso from BTF responded to my application right away and invited me to assist with registration at their BTF ASH Annual Meeting Review at the DoubleTree Hilton in Portland, OR. She sent me educational materials about BTF’s mission to improve access to cancer and education and I was immediately sold!”
How does volunteer work impact you?
“As a volunteer with BTF, I was able to utilize my previous work experience as a meeting planner in helping to make sure things were running smoothly and providing coverage for the registration table when BTF staff had other responsibilities. I enjoy being of service and making a difference and, in some small way, making someone else's journey a little bit easier.
Cancer has impacted my family--I lost a sister and my father, both in their fifties, to cancer. As a result, I want to do what I can to help support those who are treating cancer. I have started donating blood platelets to treat leukemia patients and I intend to continue volunteering for BTF when they host future meetings in my area.”
Why do you enjoy volunteering?
“I love people and I was impressed at how friendly, gracious, and interactive the BTF staff, conference participants, and exhibitors were. I enjoyed the brief pleasantries that I was able to exchange with the physicians and pharmaceutical representatives and the opportunity to make them feel special and appreciated for being there. Coming out of the pandemic, many of us have lived in isolation and were unable to socialize as we normally would. It was refreshing to return to a sense of normalcy in a social setting and to feel the joy of having meaningful conversations with people who share a common purpose. A smile, a compliment, or an act of service can really make a person's day. This volunteer opportunity was time specific, so I was easily able to make time within my schedule.”
Why would you encourage others to volunteer in their communities?
“Volunteering opens your world in a way that you might not have imagined. You can use your people skills and creativity to be of service--I do calligraphy and was able to help make name tags--some of the doctors were so impressed they said they wanted to save theirs! I connected with a pharmaceutical rep (she was also from Southern California), and we decided the next time she was in town, we would get together. It's amazing what develops when you give your time and energy without any expectations in return.”
What is your advice for future volunteers at BTF conferences?
“It's important to be on time (or early) because the conference participants start arriving as scheduled and you need time to get up to speed and be trained. Be ready to ask, “How can I help you?” People will need directions, assistance, and supplies (tape, band-aids, etc.). Dress professionally and wear comfortable walking shoes and wear layers-sometimes hotels can get cold. Bring only what you need, such as a small purse that's easy to wear, so you don't have to set it down or worry about minding it. A lot is going on and there will be times when you need to leave the registration desk.
Bring a water bottle and a snack if your volunteer shift does not cover mealtime. Place your cell phone on silent and avoid being on it. Be ready to pause side conversations when participants come to the table. Study the literature to have a better understanding of the Binaytara Foundation's mission. I suggest you review the speakers' names from the agenda to recognize them upon arrival so you can sign them in. Finally, ask in advance if there is a charge for parking at the hotel--and see if they offer a parking pass for the day or if there is street parking.”
We are blessed by Amy Mitchell and her support of our mission, and we look forward to working with her again soon!
The Binaytara Foundation is a global cancer non-profit dedicated to improving access to cancer care in the United States and abroad through education and innovative program models that break down barriers and advance best practices in hematology and oncology. Binaytara Foundation’s major projects include hematology and oncology conferences, and the establishment of a cancer hospital in Nepal. Donate here to change lives!