Volunteer Spotlight: Art Connolly
Art Connolly is a three-time cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, thyroid cancer in 2006, and adenocarcinoma in 2008. He had to undergo surgery for all three occurrences and went through six months of chemotherapy for the adenocarcinoma. During a visit to his oncologist, he noticed a brochure for the Cancer Support Community (then called The Wellness Community) in the waiting room. Art and his wife Paula both attended regular support groups through the end of 2010.
“I believe the Cancer Support Community has helped me grow a lot,” says Art. “Being in a support group has made me a better listener. My wife and I have made several very good friends, as I like to put it, ‘The kind of friendships that used to happen only in foxholes in wartime.'”
After “graduating” from regular support group attendance, Art began meeting with a group of other CscVvsb “alumni” and helping out at various events. This group of “alumni” morphed into the Speaker’s Bureau – people who had benefited from CscVvsb’s programs and wanted to share their story with community groups to raise awareness of cancer support resources. As a dedicated Speaker’s Bureau member, Art has represented CscVvsb at speaking engagements for many different groups and organizations. He has also volunteered his time to represent CscVvsb at Health Fairs, and has helped fellow cancer survivors as a Buddy Book volunteer – offering to provide one-on-one support to someone with the same diagnosis as him.
“I wanted to give back to an organization that was such a wonderful help to me and my wife during my most recent cancer journey,” says Art, who adds that his favorite aspect of volunteering is “the positive reaction from people we speak with who had no idea such a support system was available.”
Recently retired after a career in aerospace engineering and management, Art lives in West Hills with his wife, Paula. We want to thank Art for being an advocate for the Cancer Support Community.