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Volunteer Spotlight: Jerry Durr

After fifteen years as a volunteer Qi Gong instructor at the Cancer Support Community, Jerry Durr is retiring. His generosity and talent will be greatly missed and we are so appreciative of the many years he offered us. Before we let Jerry go we asked him to share the story of how he got involved and what the volunteer experience has meant to him.

jerrydurrThank you for letting me glance back over the last 15 years at the Cancer Support Community. My first experience with CSC came when I started to notice asthmatic symptoms in my 50’s and thought the stretching and deep breathing exercises of Qi Gong just might be helpful. After attempts with an instruction book didn’t pan out I saw a newspaper article about weekly classes at CSC. Marty Nason was kind enough to allow my attendance even though I didn’t have cancer. At first I had to take double breaths just to keep up with the instructor, Ed Suzuki, but I noticed some improvements after just a few weeks.

When Ed decided to retire from teaching in the late 90’s Marty asked me if I would consider carrying on the classes. And the rest, as they say, is history. And thanks to continually improving my diet and exercises, I’ve come to possibly feel better now in my 70’s than I did in my 50’s.

As for the benefits of volunteering, It’s been said that ‘Into the hands of the giver, the gift is given’, and I realize now that in volunteering to help the participants improve their own health, I too have benefited.

Perhaps one of the most surprising and interesting parts of this experience is how often a student has told me that cancer was one of the better things to have happened to them. It can be difficult to get back on the road to rejuvenation but I now see what a powerful motivator cancer can be.

At this stage of my life I am amazed at just how many people around me have been affected by cancer, and I now realize what a special organization CSC really is by providing such a helpful and wide array of programs and services.

Being part of such a beneficial and high quality organization has been one of the best experiences of my life and I highly recommend it to those who are so inclined.

I always began my class with some Zen thoughts during a brief Zazen-style meditation, so when I was pondering my retirement I noticed my daily Zen calendar stated: “Final job of Teacher, Free Students of Teacher.” With that I felt confident that my “regulars” were going to do just fine.

Two of Jerry’s “regulars,” Suzana and Don Harris, join us in offering their appreciation to Jerry:

We always enjoyed Saturday Mornings with Jerry.  He was always there early to set up and greet us all as we arrived.  We appreciated Jerry’s attention to healthy living and reminders about healthy eating.  He was generous with his time and talented in the art of Qi Gong.  We will miss him and the special music he played for us every other Saturday and the friends who we bonded with over the years. Thank you Jerry – you will be missed.

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