If you’ve ever set foot in our offices you might be lucky enough to meet Liz Richter who’s volunteered with ThriveWell for 7 years. In addition to helping as a volunteer she’s also served as Chair for the ThriveWell Annual Luncheon in 2012, was a ThriveWell Advisory Board Member, and is a 5-year Board Member of the Cancer Center Council (the fund-raising organization for the Mays Cancer Center). She truly is a volunteer extraordinaire. So let’s welcome Liz and find out more about her.
Tell us about yourself Liz.
I grew up in Louisville, KY, the youngest of 5 children. I attended Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO where I met my husband of 43 years. We have 3 grown children. My occupation before having children was at Maritz Travel Company in St. Louis, where I designed and presented incentive travel award trips to major companies, thus beginning a strong interest in travel and love to go….anywhere! I am 65 now and my husband and I travel extensively, including 3 World Cruises of 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 months in duration. We will be going to Africa for a month later this summer.
How did you hear about ThriveWell Cancer Foundation?
My husband had been on the board of Catholic Charities here for several years and we both knew Steve Saldana, the head of Catholic Charities. Steve was being treated at the START Center, so I saw him fairly regularly there when I volunteered in the treatment rooms, visiting and assisting patients. Steve recruited me for the new advisory board of ThriveWell. I participated for about a year, but really enjoyed working in the treatment rooms more, where I had one-on-one interaction with patients. I had begun volunteering in this capacity several years earlier at the Mays Cancer Center after my breast cancer treatment had ended, and switched to START when it opened up. After serving on the Advisory Board, I then asked to come to the ThriveWell offices to help Erin and Josee. They are both terrific women with big hearts for service. I do whatever they need for 2-3 hours weekly.
Obviously, my experience having cancer has made me focus on helping where I can in this area. In the treatment rooms, a visit with a cancer patient becomes a whole different conversation once they know I am a survivor. Our kids were young at the time of my treatment, and it was a challenge to keep my spirits up and calm their fears when they saw my hair fall out. So I have a lot of empathy for those going through what I went through…18 years ago. I love being able to say how long ago it was.
What are your hobbies?
After our kids grew-up I was always looking for something to help out with. My husband and I both volunteered in the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement for several years. I tutored illiterate adults for a few years. Because of our traveling I haven’t committed to as many volunteer activities since we have long periods of time away several times a year. I also attend regular Bible Studies at my church and have been a facilitator for some groups. In addition to traveling, I spend a lot of time on projects around the house, we go to a lot of movies, and I enjoy reading.
If you could change something about our world what would it be?
I wish our world were more civil than it is these days. It seems like so many of us are rude and mad and ugly to each other. More kindness and empathy would help everyone have a better life experience.
My motto came from Erma Bombeck years ago: If you think you’re going to laugh later, go ahead and laugh now!