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Research: Volunteer Profile

Annual Report - 2006-2007

Helping Others 'Makes His Day'

By Sandi Stromberg

Bill Schultz

When Bill Schultz was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1994, he was concerned about his condition.
But as they wheeled him past the pre-op board, he saw he was number 12 out of 25 to have surgery that day. Twelve had always been his lucky number, so he knew things were looking up.

Back on his feet after a recurrence in 1996, he decided it was time to give back. “After all the help and success I’d had, I was glad to help others if I could,” he says.

Today, he brings the same energy, enthusiasm and humor to volunteering at M. D. Anderson that he brought to his 30-plus years with the telephone company. Since 1997, he has logged more than 6,200 hours through both Volunteer Services and its patient and caregiver support program, the Anderson Network.

Recently, he was the first to raise his hand when M. D. Anderson opened a satellite Radiation Treatment Center in Texas’ Fort Bend County near his home. But he still drives into Anderson Network’s Hospitality Center one day a week, the place where he started serving coffee, cookies and hope in 1998.

He also has worked the Gift Shops, helped with holiday decorations, gone to Camp A.O.K. with pediatric patients, played Santa Claus and served on the Volunteer Roundtable.

As a dedicated member of the Anderson Network, Schultz was named the 2004 Telephone Networker of the Year for sharing hope with more than 90 other pancreatic cancer patients. In 2005, he won the Joseph T. Painter Award — given in honor of a former vice president who helped found the Anderson Network — in recognition of his exceptional contribution to patient networking activities and support.

“When I see people who need some kind of hope, I say, ‘Hey, I’ve been through all this stuff and just look at me.’ If I can make somebody feel a little better, that’s what I’m here for. Sometimes people say, ‘Thanks for giving me encouragement. You made my day.’ I answer, ‘No, you really made mine.’”

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center