Carolyn King of Stephenville was recently named Volunteer of the Year by the Fort Worth American Cancer Society (ACS) during its appreciation banquet for the North Texas area.

Carolyn is a ten-year breast cancer survivor. After her diagnosis, volunteers from Reach to Recovery, a division of ACS, offered encouragement and led her through the rough times. Now, she is doing what she can as a payback for those who cared for her, and has been a mentor to others since 1998.

ACS trains women to visit with recently diagnosed patients, provide information, follow them through treatment, and be mentors.

Surviving cancer realigned my priorities, King said. It made me focus more on who I am and what Im about.

Reach to Recovery originally asked their volunteers to visit with patients once or twice with no follow-up. Carolyn realized during her own recovery that more was required for dealing with the illness. Now, volunteers see their patients three or four times. She presently travels to six different counties and has logged over 100 visits, plus the return visits to each.

We become good friends, she said of those she helps.

The Tell A Friend Peer-to-Peer campaign is a part of ACS. Carolyn and her friends designed and now sell breast cancer awareness bracelets. Proceeds benefit under-served women to receive mammograms. Dr. Nanette Evans, and other medical personnel at the Stephenville Medical and Surgical Clinic donate personal time for the cause.

King feels privileged to have worked with so many wonderful people affiliated with the American Cancer Society.

Im a breast cancer survivor. Now, my purpose is to serve and comfort others as I was, she said.

Carolyn is a paralegal for a local law firm.

The Vision of the American Cancer Society is to empower and mobilize communities to prevent cancer, save lives, and diminish suffering by distinguishing the Society as the organization of choice for meaningful volunteer engagement.

There are presently three million volunteers. For additional information on becoming a volunteer, contact the local American Cancer Society office.

SHERRY BOARDMAN is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune and can be reached at sherry.boardman@empiretribune.com or 254-965-3124, ext. 229.