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Cancer Action’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year - Dr. Patricia W. Caruthers
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Written by Shirley Gibson, Program Director
Dr. Caruthers or as I call her Dr. C, initially heard of Cancer Action many years ago because she taught a Sunday school class that the former Executive Director, Maxine Bowers and her husband attended. Having been raised in a Christian home, Dr. Caruthers learned many lessons from her parents. The top three of importance were education, faith and helping others. One of her life’s mottos comes from a hymn they sang in her church and that was, “If I can help somebody along the way then my living shall not be in vain.” From these early life lessons, she dedicated her life to helping others.
Dr. Caruthers spent her professional life as an educator, following in her parents footsteps. She received her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration and English. She earned her PhD in Higher Education Administration and African Literature. She began by teaching 7th grade English and later became the first Black female professor at Kansas City Kansas Community Junior College, where she retired as Vice-President for Administrative and Student Affairs. Over the years, she has volunteered/served on numerous boards involving education, economic and planning commissions, youth empowerment, transportation and health care.
Dr. Caruthers has volunteered over 14 years for Cancer Action. This was particularly meaningful as both of her parents had cancer. She was eager to help when asked by her life-long friend and Cancer Action board member, Clyde Townsend, to join the board of directors. She has served as a dedicated board member for 12 years. She also generously gives her time to help with special events, such as Sunflowers to Roses.
In 2015, Dr. Caruthers began as a volunteer driver. She has logged a total of 5,241 miles and 340 hours driving patients to their treatment appointments. She patiently waits for them while they are getting their treatment so they are not alone. In 2016 she provided a total of 65 rides for 15 different Cancer Action Patients. Dr. C develops a special relationship with the patients she transports and enjoys sharing stories with them during their time. Patients ask for her when calling to schedule their rides. She always asks the patients about her driving. One patient jokingly gave her a B+ one day which did not satisfy Dr. C. She asked him why the B+ and he told her the reason. She drove him several other times and on his last treatment appointment she asked him to grade her driving. He gave her an A+!
Dr. Caruthers shares she is humbled, grateful and thankful for her health and her life circumstances as she shares with Cancer Action patients. She stated she enjoys the reward of seeing people progress, with some of them even beating cancer. She has generously given her time, talent and treasures to meet the needs of those with cancer in our community. It is a privilege to name Dr. Patricia Caruthers as Cancer Actions 2017 Volunteer of the Year.
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