Beverley McClure: Finding a Soul Friend
Cancer survivor Beverly McClure is more than just a good listener. She understands the tribulations of battling the dreaded disease. That’s why patients are eager to tell her their stories.
“I had a wonderful conversation with a woman who was headed to hospice. She told her doctors she wasn’t ready to die and asked them to find her a treatment. She’s now in a Phase I trial,” Beverley relates.
Beverley continues, “She talked about her life, the things she had done and how she was diagnosed. Her courage was amazing.”
Beverley volunteers as a soul friend at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center. In her role, she offers emotional and spiritual support to patients facing the scourge of all illnesses.
“I get back so much from the patients,” Beverley admits. “It actually feeds my soul to hear their stories. Many are feeling overwhelmed and need some strength. I try to provide that positive connection.”
Beverley, a retired USAA executive, began her training for the soul friend volunteer position last year. Her role in the corporate world and her subsequent career as an executive coach prepared her for the task.
“After 34 years at USAA, I started my own business,” she explains. “As an executive coach, listening, being present and asking questions caused people to look inward. Those same skills help me today.”
Beverley is no stranger to the cancer center. She serves on the cancer center Council’s Board of Trustees. The council is a non-profit, volunteer organization that raises funds to support the cancer center's research and patient services.
“I love my work with the council, but I wanted to work directly with patients,” Beverly adds. “I had a cousin with cancer who didn’t have anyone to help her on her journey. I didn’t want that to happen to anyone else.”
An energetic person with an engaging smile, Beverley feels fortunate to be able to serve others. “When I worked and was raising kids, I didn’t have much time to volunteer. Now I want to give back and I enjoy volunteering.”
Even though she endured her own battle with cancer, Beverly does not mention it to patients. “It’s about each patient, not about me,” she explains. “I’m more in tune with their needs and I focus on them.”
Beverly’s fine-tuned sympathetic ear serves her well. By listening, she often receives healing as well as giving it. That is what makes her a special friend to the cancer center patients.