Helping Others in Their Cancer Journey is What Motivates Moffitt’s Volunteer of the Year

By Jonesa Rodriguez - May 09, 2022

Wanting to give back and seeing the joy her husband gained from being a volunteer at Moffitt Cancer Center is what motivated Diane Johnson to join the Volunteer Services program in 2019. Both Johnson and her husband know what it means to help patients, as they were once in their shoes as patients of the cancer center.

Years before becoming a volunteer, Johnson started her journey at Moffitt when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. A few years later, her journey changed from patient to caregiver as her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009.

Remembering the compassionate care the couple received from Moffitt’s team, Johnson made it her mission that she would return the favor once she retired.

Diane Johnson has logged 2,398 hours as a Moffitt volunteer
Diane Johnson has logged 2,398 hours as a Moffitt volunteer.

Now, as a volunteer, she has logged 2,389 hours helping patients in Moffitt’s surgery waiting room and as a member of the Patient and Family Advisory Program.

“I enjoy volunteering in both areas as I get to help patients and caregivers in different ways,” said Johnson. “Working in the surgery waiting room, I walk many nervous patients to pre-op. Talking with them on that very short walk, I try to appease some of their apprehensions, just by saying, ‘I’ve been here before, and this is a great place, you’ll be well taken care of.’ It helps them relax.”

As a patient advisor and comfort companion, Johnson is well known around Moffitt for providing exceptional service, being dependable and staying committed to patients.

Her compassion and dedication to Moffitt were honored this year during National Volunteer Week when she was named Adult Volunteer of the Year. During the national recognition week, Moffitt celebrated all volunteers for their devotion and service to the cancer center and its patients.

Johnson, who was surprised and happy she received the award, says the best part of volunteering is helping others in their journey.

“When I can help calm patients, stop the tears and let them know that they are in the right spot to get the best care, I go to sleep that night knowing that maybe I’ve helped someone else fight their battle,” Johnson said. “The gratitude I feel of being allowed to help is so rewarding. I couldn’t imagine my life without volunteering at Moffitt.”

In addition to the Adult Volunteer of the Year award, the cancer center also announced several other volunteer awards, which had a sweet theme this year. These awards were the 100 Grand Student Volunteer of the Year, Starburst, Junior Mint, Whopper, Smarties, Lifesaver, Milky Way and the Whatchamacallit awards.

100 Grand Student Volunteer of the Year:

Rheanna Tomas

Starburst Award:

Ken Susalla

Junior Mint Award:

Magdelin Lopez

Whopper Award:

Joseph Gallager

Smarties Award:

William Logan and Bella Simmons

Lifesaver Award:

Alan Preston

Milky Way Award:

Manisha Lingam

Whatchamacallit Award:

Gayathri Mannem

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