Nov. 29, 2016 | For more than nine years, June O’Keefe has quietly made a difference in the lives of Arkansas’ cancer patients.
Her efforts were recognized Nov. 17 when she was named Volunteer of the Year by the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Auxiliary.
“June is always upbeat, outgoing and has a wonderful smile. Her fellow volunteers love working with her, and the patients look forward to seeing her regularly. She truly is a pleasure to work with and brightens our days,” said Janie Lowe, director of the Cancer Institute Department of Volunteer Services and Auxiliary, which presents the annual award.
O’Keefe has logged more than 3,000 volunteer hours in her nine years of service. She assists weekly in the waiting rooms, leads the Sit and Knit group, and participates in the Care Caps group.
Sit and Knit meets at 1:30 p.m. each Wednesday in the Patient Support Pavilion to knit and crochet hats for UAMS patients who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. Care Caps meets at 9 a.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at the Family Home, located across the street from UAMS, to sew hats for cancer patients at UAMS and across the country.
The Family Home is a nonprofit facility that provides affordable housing for patients at the UAMS Cancer Institute and parents of infants in the UAMS Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit. It also houses the Cancer Institute’s Cancer Support Center. For information about participating in either group, contact the Cancer Institute Department of Volunteer Services and Auxiliary at (501) 686-8286.
The Cancer Institute Auxiliary has about 500 members, more than half of whom volunteer on a regular basis in the waiting areas and gift shop or help with special events throughout the year.
Funds raised by the auxiliary are distributed as grants benefiting cancer patients at the Cancer Institute and in northwest Arkansas. Kimberly Pickett is auxiliary president.