Individuals volunteer at the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center for a host of reasons. But most have one thing in common. Cancer has touched their lives.
Loyce Holt is one of those volunteers. But she has more than just a passing acquaintance with cancer. Holt has fought colon, thyroid and breast cancer. Her battles have left her stronger and closer to her faith.
“Prayer is a great comforter,” she says of her determination to become cancer free. “I’ve been told I was in the last stages and wouldn’t make it. But I’m still here.”
Holt, who moved to San Antonio in 2012, saw an ad in local newspaper about many organizations that needed volunteers. One of those was the Cancer Center. She immediately thought of her own journey with cancer and realized the Cancer Center was a perfect fit for her desire to serve those who deal with patients, especially the nurses.
“During my cancers, I remember the nurses who were so good to me. This was a way to pay them back for all they had done for me,” Holt recalls thinking.
Holt signed on to volunteer in a group that assists the Cancer Center Medical Oncology Clinic. Volunteers assemble Mediport and PIV kits for the nurses to use in the treatment of patients.
In addition, they help with supply room fulfillment and distribution. These activities allow the nurses more time to spend with patients, instead of dealing with these tasks.
Although she spends a lot of her volunteer hours in the supply room, Holt enjoys the opportunities she has for interaction with patients, their caregivers and family.
“Cancer can overwhelm your life and consume you,” she says. “When I am assembling supplies, I realize these needles are no longer in my life. I give thanks for that.”
Holt led a busy life before she arrived in San Antonio. During her career, she was a schoolteacher, librarian, real estate agent, insurance agent and administrative assistant in the oil and gas industry in Houston.
Once she retired, she knew volunteering would become her next passion. “I feel like today I am finally doing something for the nurses who helped me during my treatments,” adds Holt.
Living cancer free has given Holt a new perspective and changed her life. “When I was going through cancer, I was depressed and felt sorry for myself. One day, I told my husband, this is not my personality.”
Holt decided to live each day as happily as she could. She does that today. Her experience and attitude are what make Loyce Holt a special volunteer.