Introducing our October Volunteer of the Month: Janell Thomas!
“It’s always wonderful to meet someone like Janell who truly has a passion of giving back to our community,” said Natalie Guagenti, director of volunteers for Komen Columbus. “She has only been a volunteer for a year, but she’s done so much and used her nursing expertise to educate many women in our community. We’re proud to have her in the Komen family.”
Janell shares with us, in her own words, why she volunteers with Komen Columbus.
What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?
I was inspired to get involved with Komen because I have numerous friends and family that have been affected by breast cancer. I actually have lost two great-grandmothers to the disease. As a nurse I see the effects breast cancer has on patients and their families daily. And as a black woman I see the disproportionate rates we are dying from this disease. I felt that it was my responsibility to do as much as I can to educate as many people as possible about the risk factors, screening and support available in Columbus in an effort to save lives.
What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?
My favorite part is talking with people in the community. Most of the people I talk to are very concerned and interested in getting screened but have no idea of where to start. Being able to give someone resources and help answer their questions makes me feel like I am making a difference.
What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus? And why?
The most memorable moment I have experienced was working the WWE event last year. One of the housekeepers came to our table and stated that she had a significant family history of breast cancer. She said that she knew she was at risk but never had a mammogram because she didn’t have a primary care physician or insurance. When I told her there were places that she could still receive a mammogram at no cost, her face lit up. She was very gracious and said that she would be calling the next day to get an appointment. Being able to help someone who was really concerned about their health felt really good. All she needed was a little information to put her on the right path.
When you’re not volunteering for Komen Columbus, what do you like to do?
In my free time I like doing Zumba, I go almost every day. I am also an OSU alum so I try to go to every game I can get to!