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Some know Diane Cole as the Senior Director of Finance for NorthShore’s Research Institute, Foundation and Department of Family Medicine, but others, including many NorthShore patients, know her as a committed and active NorthShore volunteer and donor.
Diane’s commitment to giving back has afforded her unique insight into the patient experience at NorthShore, which was only deepened this year when she became a patient herself. Diagnosed with breast cancer in February, Diane underwent treatment at Kellogg Cancer Center. After treatment, Diane and her husband organized a paintball tournament fundraiser to support the research of Katharine Yao, MD, Director of NorthShore’s Breast Cancer Surgical Program.
Diane tells us why giving back is so important and how it has impacted her life:
How do you give back? I donate through NorthShore’s Employee Combined Appeal to support Medical Education, volunteer for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk and push wheelchairs at NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital. In the past, I have helped out at the Hospitals’ Gala and the American Craft Exposition (ACE), which raises funds to support ovarian cancer research conducted at NorthShore.
Why do you give back? NorthShore is worth the effort. It’s a good place with caring, compassionate people who work hard every day to help others. Volunteering also makes me feel useful in a personal way.
What impact has giving had on your life? Giving back feels good. I’ve made some exceptionally nice new friends along the way. Hosting the fundraiser gave me new appreciation for the important work that NorthShore Foundation does every day.
Is there one experience as a volunteer that stands out? Two come to mind: When I volunteered to push wheelchairs at Glenbrook Hospital, I stood by the Ambulatory Care Center entrance near Kellogg Cancer Center. There was a lady who had just lost a loved one after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was heading out the door and broke down in tears in the lobby. I walked over to see if she was okay. She shared her story and I just listened. I gave her a hug. I can’t say I’ve ever hugged someone I didn’t know. I hope she is doing okay.
I volunteered to escort guests from the front of Evanston Hospital to the Burch Building where the Red Kite Society was hosting an event for children with autism. One little boy who attended was blind. He took my hand and we walked together from one end of the hospital to the other. I was moved by how happy he seemed. It made me think of how much I take for granted.
What would you say to others to encourage them to give back too? Giving back is rewarding in ways you may not expect. You learn from other volunteers and, in my experience as a NorthShore volunteer, from the patients I’m helping.
Join Diane in giving back here. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at NorthShore here.