Karen and Steve Chubon
Karen Chubon and her husband, Steve, were looking for a place to retire; somewhere with a strong sense of community with opportunities to give back. They found the Central Coast, where they felt like there were many ways for them to contribute to the community in a meaningful way. After Steve retired last year, Karen decided she wanted to become more active in volunteering and started learning more about the Hearst Cancer Resource Center (HCRC) at French Hospital Medical Center.
Karen felt a strong connection with the HCRC because her mother, Carol Thompson, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 15 years ago, despite the doctors giving her five years to live. Making the best out of a tough situation, Thompson fought the cancer, going through seven different rounds of chemotherapy in nine years. During this time, Karen and her mother spent a great deal of time together. In spite of everything, some of their favorite memories together were made during this difficult period.
“She taught me so much in going through this. She had such a positive outlook and just persevered through,” Karen said.
Watching her mother turn a negative situation into a positive one, it became very important to Karen to give back to others going through similar situations. She began volunteering at the HCRC two days a week, working at the front desk, greeting patients and assisting with various projects.
After seeing firsthand the direct impact the HCRC has on cancer patients and their families, Karen and Steve made a significant contribution to the HCRC, naming the Nurse Navigator Office in the HCRC in honor of her mother. The Nurse Navigator program provides patients with a nurse to guide them through their cancer journey, offering emotional support in addition to medical assistance. Karen witnessed how this program positively impacted people coming to the HCRC.
The resources that the HCRC provides, including the Nurse Navigator and a registered dietician, are what make the HCRC so unique. But what keeps Karen coming back week after week are the family of staff and the grateful patients.
“The people that are coming in are looking for knowledge and want to help themselves,” Karen said. “I’m happier when I leave than when I come in. As hard as this is, it’s a very positive place.”
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