May 3, 2017 | Gracious, calm and compassionate were just three of the words used to describe Robin Dean at an April 26 ceremony honoring her service to the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.
“Robin looks for the sun when the clouds hit. She brings a positive attitude to everything she does,” said Kent Westbrook, M.D., addressing a crowd of more than 160 people gathered to honor Dean as the UAMS Cancer Institute Auxiliary’s 2017 Distinguished Honoree. The award is presented each year to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the mission of the Cancer Institute.
Westbrook is a distinguished professor in the UAMS College of Medicine and co-founder of the Cancer Institute.
“While we have had many physicians and scientists receive this honor over the past 23 years, Robin is only the second staff member to be named our Distinguished Honoree. The Cancer Institute is truly a better place thanks to Robin’s grace and compassion,” said Peter Emanuel, M.D., Cancer Institute director and professor of medicine in in the UAMS College of Medicine.
A three-time cancer survivor, Dean devoted more than two decades as both a volunteer and staff member at the Cancer Institute. Her volunteer activities included serving as chair of auxiliary fundraising events and as an auxiliary board member, including a stint as president in 1999-2000. She was named Volunteer of the Year in 2001.
Her staff positions included serving for two years as a salesperson in the Cancer Institute Gift Shop and for 13 years as coordinator for the Cancer Institute Cancer Support Center at the Family Home, a nonprofit facility that provides low-cost housing for cancer patients and parents of infants in the UAMS Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She retired in 2016.
“You have diagnosed me and treated me. You’ve prayed for me and cared for me. There is no doubt that God’s hand has guided me during these years,” said Dean, acknowledging the health care team and friends who cared for her during her cancer treatments. “Who would have thought that having cancer would have prepared me to talk to the patients I met at the Family Home about how to keep hope alive?”
The Cancer Institute Auxiliary is one of Arkansas’ largest volunteer organizations with more than 500 members dedicated to providing information, service, compassion and hope to those whose lives are touched by cancer.
Janie Lowe serves as director of the UAMS Cancer Institute Department of Volunteer Services and Auxiliary.