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Volunteer Spotlight: Thelma Starr

ThelmaStarr-recentIf you have ever been to the Holiday Homes Tour, you know that lively seasonal entertainment is a special part of the experience, adding a dimension of excitement and festivity to the popular event. We thought it was time to recognize the volunteer who works so hard to make sure that the live entertainment is magical, year after year.

For the past seven-plus years, Thelma Starr has served as Entertainment Chair on the Holiday Homes Tour Committee – a volunteer position that involves finding, securing, and organizing more than two-dozen musicians or groups to perform during the two-day event. Her behind the scenes dedication helps ensure that CSC’s largest fundraiser is a memorable and enjoyable experience for all.

“My favorite part of volunteering for the Holiday Homes Tour is knowing that each and every one of us, musicians and volunteers, have helped brighten the spirits of the attendees and participants,” says Thelma. “As Entertainment Chair I get to see the joy that music brings to the event, as thousands of tour goers walk through the beautifully decorated homes filled with holiday music.”

Thelma started volunteering at CSC nearly twenty years ago as a front desk volunteer, answering phones and helping visitors at the front desk. She also volunteered as an Outreach Coordinator, providing the crucial connection between CSC and local doctor’s offices so cancer patients could learn about the programs offered by the Cancer Support Community.

Thelma at the opening of the Health Education Lending Program library

Thelma at the opening of the Health Education Lending Program library

In 1997 CSC (then called The Wellness Community) had a month-long Design House fundraiser and Thelma served as Special Events Chair – a major task that meant creating and planning weekly wine tastings, daily fashion shows, musicians, workshops and a silent auction. She also coordinated many contributions from local restaurants and vendors.

“I enjoy seeing the benefit that a well-planned event brings to people,” says Thelma, who has also enjoyed volunteering with the American Cancer Society (Reach to Recovery and Relay for Life programs) and the Arts Councils of the San Fernando Valley and Calabasas.

As a cancer survivor herself, Thelma has a particular interest in helping the Cancer Support Community. “I have been encouraged and inspired by my personal fight against cancer. I think of the Cancer Support Community as my second home and a place where many people find strength and comfort in their fight against cancer,” says Thelma, who sought as much information as possible when she was first diagnosed. She was so inspired by authors like Dr. O. Carl Simonton, Bernie Siegel, Susan Love and Norman Cousins that she encouraged Kaiser Permanente’s Woodland Hills Medical Center to develop the “Health Education Lending Program.” She established the first HELP Database and created file labels and reports to be used for the library books, video and audiotapes for other patients to use.

By helping the Cancer Support Community ensure the success of its biggest fundraiser, and with her help over many years, Thelma has consistently made a difference in the lives of people affected by cancer in our community. Thank you, Thelma!

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