By Diane Johnson
Patient Advisor, Patient and Family Advisory Program
My name is Diane and I am a volunteer at Moffitt Cancer Center. I first learned of Moffitt in 2004 when I came here to be treated for breast cancer. In 2009, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and started treatment at Moffitt as well. He joined the volunteer team in 2012. I saw how much joy it gave him to help at the information desk. This made me want to volunteer when I retired in 2019.
In January 2020, I started volunteering in the surgery waiting room. I checked patients in for surgeries, walked them back into the pre-operatory area, helped caregivers to consult rooms, and walked caregivers back to the recovery area to see their loved ones.
I volunteered on special projects. I visited Moffitt's Wesley Chapel facility to help direct patients to their infusion or radiation appointments. During the COVID-19 vaccine drives, I escorted patients and team members through the process.
In February 2020, I joined the Patient Family and Advisory Program. I started with the Coffee Connection at the Magnolia campus. Today, I volunteer for the breast clinic, infusion centers, Patient Library & Welcome Center, inpatient room visits, Coffee Connection and serve on various committees.
Volunteering is good for my soul and well-being.
"In April, Diane Johnson was honored to receive the Volunteer of the Year Award for her outstanding dedication and commitment to volunteer service at Moffitt. Our patients, families and staff appreciate all of our volunteers and commend Diane on receiving this esteemed award. "- Anne Bidelman, Manager, Patient and Family Advisory Program
I'm active and engaged in so many different roles that it has truly enriched my life. When I was diagnosed, so many people started to give me their opinion on how I should manage my treatments regardless of my doctor’s advice or my choices. So, I never talked about my cancer.
Today, I listen to patients and caregivers express their challenges. I never offer advice but aim to be there as a sounding board for them. If questioned about my journey, I tell my story and the path that I took. When I speak about my surgeries, chemotherapy or radiation experiences, they learn there is light at the end of the tunnel. I will usually see the same patients at different locations, and they have told me it helps them feel more comfortable to always see a familiar face when visiting Moffitt.
If you’re interested in using your lived experience as a patient or caregiver to make a difference the Patient and Family Advisory Program may be right for you. To learn more please email PatientAdvisors@Moffitt.org or call 813-745-2963.