By: Carl Berkowitz, TCCC Volunteer
In 1993, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center (TCCC) Foundation was founded, followed in 1994 by the opening of the Cancer Center thanks to the hard work and dollars raised by many Tri-City individuals and organizations. There was a need in eastern Washington not only for a radiation oncology treatment center, but an organization that could provide ancillary support for patients and community educational programs. The tradition of giving that started the Center continues today through the work of the TCCC Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that works to help provide these and other services at no cost to individuals and families who are affected by cancer.
Presiding over the TCCC Foundation Board this year is Julia Hamrick, who is both president of the Foundation and a volunteer at the Cancer Center. As a former project manager, Julia brings many skills to her responsibilities as a Board member and a volunteer.
Julia was introduced to the Cancer Center via Cindy Caldwell, with whom she was creating necklaces, earrings and other bead art sold at fund raisers for charitable organizations in our community. One event Cindy wanted her to participate in was the Cancer Center’s ‘Autumn Affair’ (note: this year’s Autumn Affair will be held November 9th). Of her introduction, Julia says “I immediately liked the people putting this event together, but didn’t see myself becoming more involved at first.” She later bumped into Cindy at Walmart, who then asked if she’d like to join the Foundation Board.
Julia just couldn’t say no, and she now says she’s glad she didn’t. “Being somewhat of an introvert, I was initially taken back by the fundraising aspect of the Foundation.” But she became increasingly supportive of this and other activities as she learned more about the services they support. Julia notes frankly that fundraising is not for everyone, but it’s critical to the success of the Foundation and many of the Cancer Center activities. She feels that fundraising has nothing to do with ‘me’ and that it’s all for the Cancer Center. And as long as she’s asking for something she believes in (the Cancer Center), she’s OK with it, saying that “fundraising has nothing to do with you and everything to do with what touches people’s hearts.”
Julia pointed out that there is more to Foundation activities than fundraising. Through the Foundation’s Guild and the Men’s Club, members provide physical support for many of the Cancer Center activities including manning booths, helping with parking or displays at public events and decorating the Center for holidays. There are also a number of ad hoc committees for special activities. A key role played by every Foundation member is serving as TCCC ambassadors to the rest of the community. Today, after several years of participating in Foundation activities, Julia feels the Foundation sets a gold standard for charitable organizations in the Tri-Cities, citing the integrity of the organization, how they operate, and the support the Foundation receives from the community.
One of Julia’s desires is to expand the area served by the Cancer Center. In particular, she’d like to see screening activities, educational programs and other resources offered to a larger geographic area than is now the case “While radiation treatment of course has to be done on the campus, many of our other activities might be expanded to individuals living further out.” And as a Board member, she’s always looking for future Foundation Board members who have needed skills in areas including finance, communications and who are just generally plugged into other community organizations that can support Foundation activities. While the officers define long term goals and strategies, Julia is quick to note that “We can’t have all ‘vision people’ or all ‘worker-bee’ people. We need a mix of both.”
Since retiring five years ago, Julia has found time to participate in a number of other non-presidential activities throughout the community. She still does hands-on work with the Cancer Center’s Autumn Affair Auction, is a Monday morning volunteer at the TCCC Resource Center, and helps at the Kennewick Food Bank. Asked during our February interview if any special non-presidential, non-volunteer, non-TCCC events are coming up in her own life, she shared the excitement of an upcoming trip to Israel and Jordan with husband Doug and fellow church members, after which she and Doug plan to explore warm, sunny Sicily.
To learn more about Foundation activities, contact Julia Hamrick, Foundation Board President by calling the TCCC Foundation office, (509) 737-3413, or firstname.lastname@example.org