Chemo Buddies volunteers serve as companions for patients and help with
snacks, books, games and the kind of hospitality you would hope to receive
if you were visiting someone’s home. Their goal is to make chemo
a more comfortable and life giving experience physically, mentally and
spiritually. The program’s motto is: “No one should ever have
to go through chemo alone.”
Mike Russ has been a Chemo Buddy for the past four-and-a-half years. He
started volunteering at Oncology Hematology Associates in Evansville,
but has made the transition to become the “point person” for
the Chemo Buddies program at Methodist Hospital’s new Hematology
and Oncology Infusion Services.
“My wife and I have lived in Henderson since 2011 so I sometimes
run into people I know,” said Russ. “There is a great group
of nurses and staff here and I really, really enjoy it.”
Russ retired in 2011 from the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation
and took his time choosing the kind of volunteer work he wanted to do.
Once he started as a Chemo Buddy, he was hooked. He volunteers once a
week for four hours.
“It is just a blessing to be here,” he continued. “There
are so many people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. I love hearing
their stories and spending time with them at what is a stressful period
of their lives.”
The first day a new patient arrives, they receive a goodie bag from Chemo
Buddies, filled with items donated or purchased by people who support
the program. “We also give them a fleece blanket or quilt. Sometimes
other things like hats or scarves are donated. We want to do all we can
to make their time here a little brighter and bring them a few laughs,”
he said, noting they also are here as a support to the family members
Chemo Buddies is a grassroots nonprofit organization that provides a group
of dedicated volunteers who serve cancer patients while they are in the
treatment room receiving chemotherapy. Chemo is time consuming —
it can take up to eight hours — and this leaves many patients without
their normal support person or family member.
For more information on becoming a Chemo Buddy volunteer, contact Sarah
Smith, MSN, RN, Oncology Nurse Navigator at Methodist Hospital, at 270-869-6147 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the program is also available on the Chemo Buddies
website at mychemobuddies.org.
For questions regarding this press release, please contact Brandi L. Schwartz
at 270-831-7836 or