A force of nature. That’s the term that comes to mind when you first meet Christine Baze, singer-songwriter, activist and cervical cancer survivor. After being diagnosed at 31, she went through surgery and treatment that saved her life — and that provided her with a mission. Christine’s cancer was caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. In the 15 years since her diagnosis, she’s used her inspiring words, songs and story to educate others about the HPV vaccine, which can prevent cancer caused by HPV. Whether on stage performing, advocating in the halls of government, or appearing in an award-winning documentary, Christine is using her experience to give back and help others.
Why it is important
Social wellness is about making contributions to help others, your community or the world around you. Giving your time and effort on behalf of others could help improve your own health and well-being. Studies have shown it can increase a sense of purpose, well-being, and happiness. Some cancer survivors create a network of support by participating in cancer education efforts with other survivors.
Improving your social wellness can:
- Help you feel better about yourself
- Make you feel less isolated
- Help others
- Improve your support network by connecting you with others who may share your experience and desire to help others and your community
What you can do
If you are interested in volunteering, here are some tips to follow:
- Choose a group, cause or activity that interests you.
- Consider volunteering for a cancer advocacy or support organization, or even a cause not related to cancer. Many national and local organizations need your help in educating the community, helping to change policy, and raising funds to support a cause.
- Start slowly. Try not to do too much. If you are tired, do not be afraid to say no when asked to do more.
- Give yourself some credit. Volunteering can be difficult, but you are doing something special when you give of yourself to help others.
Questions to ask yourself
- What issue, cause, or community problem do I care deeply about?
- What can I do with my time and talent to be of service to others in my community?
- Is there a cancer advocacy or other community organization that I can volunteer for?
- How much time can I commit to helping others, while taking care of myself and not doing too much?
- Can I connect with other cancer survivors through my volunteer work?
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a list of disease-specific advocacy and support groups
- Volunteer Opportunities in Massachusetts, a list of opportunities developed by the Massachusetts Service Alliance
- Cancer Survival Toolbox, an award winning, free audio program produced by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the Oncology Nursing Society, and the National Association of Social Workers
- Cancer Survival Toolbox (En Español)