Giving Back is a Two-Way Street for This Volunteer
“What you get back is so much more than what you put into it,” Beverly Kan said.
Beverly Kan doesn’t think her volunteer work is anything special.
If anything, she thinks she gets more out of working at the Human Services Center luncheon than she gives.
“I think it helps keep me alive,” Kan said.
Kan has been fighting cancer for more than 20 years. Her most recent bout of breast cancer started in 1998. She had originally been diagnosed in 1990, but this time it was worse. She had tumors that had spread to her liver, to her bones. She was given a year and a half to live.
Thirteen years later, she’s still here, serving up beautiful desserts to the seniors every Thursday. She still gets treatment every Monday—she said she was one of the first people to ever receive Herceptin outside of a trial—and spends a lot of time with her mother, who is almost 90.
“I’m a survivor,” she said. She has a supportive husband of 41 years and a son away at college, who she said has picked up her volunteering ways.
The former Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School teacher calls herself a “people person.” She said some of her favorite parts of working at the luncheon are getting to see her old colleagues and the “pleasure that I see on the faces of the people we serve.” At the luncheon, volunteers gather to cook a weekly, dinner-style meal for senior citizens in Brecksville. Kan’s regular duties are decorating the desserts and helping plate the meals.
“What you get back is so much more than what you put into it,” Kan said.
Kan’s been involved with the program since the beginning. Ann Hamski, the food service manager at the center, is a friend. The two know each other through St. Basil the Great and their sons graduated together. When Kan saw that Hamski was involved with the luncheon, she wanted to help.
Hamski called Kan’s working at the luncheon a blessing for all involved—she feels lucky to have her there, and she thinks Kan has been able to meet other volunteers who have overcome hardships.
“Everybody has a struggle,” Hamski said.
The group is made up of people who have faced challenges and overcome them, she added, giving Kan, who she called fun, funny and generous, the chance to meet others like her.