March Volunteer of the Month: Yvonne Burry

We are so proud to recognize Yvonne Burry as the March volunteer of the month. If you ever talk with Yvonne, you will quickly learn of her passion and dedication to our mission. We are most appreciative of her profound commitment and the professional expertise she graciously donates to our grants program and the scientific research programs we are able to fund. She is also a great cook, a wonderful friend, a creative mind and someone who truly enjoys giving back to her community. Thanks Yvonne!

What (or who) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?

Yvonne Burry, our March Volunteer of the Month

My inspiration was Patricia Hughes (whom some called Pat, and others called Patsy). I first met her in the mid-1980s, because we were both working at Battelle. And we became good friends. During her illness, her friends, literally hundreds of us, did so many things to bolster her spirits through surgeries, chemo, a bone marrow transplant, recurrences, and so on. There were protest rallies outside the part of OSU Hospital that would be named The James (to protest her illness; no joke; she viewed the picketing ladies from her room), gifts of boxing gloves (we gave her red ones), and many other things. Personally, I went with her on retreats with a wonderful Native American healer, for meditation, sweat lodge ceremonies, and such. It was Patsy’s fight that brought out the best in everyone, and any possible route to good health was worth exploring. Eventually, the cancer returned, was fought off, and returned again, sadly taking our dear friend before her 50th birthday. I walked my first Race during one of her bad years, and then got more and more involved. Since then, I have lost three more friends. Now, even in my little groups — the book club, the dinner club – there are three of these dear friends who are breast cancer survivors. How could I have any better inspiration? My inspiration comes from them, the ladies I know and the ones I don’t even know, for our daughters, sisters, and selves.What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
The people I continue to meet through Komen are my favorite part of volunteering. When there is plenty of work to do, the smiling faces make it all worthwhile. And among the smiling faces, some of the best are the folks who work in the HQ office.

You have been part of the grants committee for 4 years, what do you learn from this process year after year?
I continue to be amazed at the smaller grantees, which are small in terms of their organization. Their funding request and their levels of staffing. Somehow, they work some of the greatest miracles in terms of stretching the funds and reaching so many needy people. From them, I learn how important it can be to decide on a goal and then move mountains to get there.

You are part of the Komen Advocates In Science initiative, how does that program complement the scientific research funded by Komen?
Advocates in Science provides a group within Komen who have a higher level of knowledge and understanding of research methods, results, and data interpretation. This group of advocates is available to provide a kind of resource to research programs where someone outside the immediate research group can be called upon to observe, evaluate, and provide another view to help the research attain its objectivity.

Yvonne and Ellen Tressel talking during a Komen Columbus event.

When you are not volunteering for us, what are you up to?
Having just retired from Battelle after 29+ years, I continue to maintain my consultant business related to technical writing, web content development, and test evaluation and development within the occupational/ technical secondary education field. Oriented to fitness, I walk and work out every day, grow vegetables, bake bread, and cook from scratch most of the time. With a bit more time on my hands, I’m now developing a suite of four short stories and a collection of essays; weaving (at Cultural Arts Center downtown), practicing piano, and helping with political campaigns. With my husband, I avidly participate in the worldwide game of geocaching and we try to get out west for a hiking vacation every year. We have two grown sons, who are married and live in the Columbus area.