Unless you have heard the words, “You have cancer,” relating to the many emotions that follow a cancer diagnosis is hard. Roger Jordan was diagnosed with prostate cancer many years ago, and his experience gave him a heart to help other cancer patients by volunteering in the Cancer Patient Support Program (CPSP). Some 22 years later, Roger was recognized for his volunteer work, and recently received a Community Service Award from the Colonel Joseph Winston Chapter of the DAR. In order to be considered for this award, an individual or organization must have contributed to the community in an outstanding manner through voluntary, heroic, civic, and benevolent service.
Roger Jordan retired from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and began volunteering in the CPSP because he knew from the inside what it’s like to be confronted with the diagnosis and treatment options. Roger decided to give back to his fellow survivors and community by giving of his time to this very important work.
In the CSPS program, Roger manages the support room and delivers Krispy Kreme Donuts every Wednesday morning to the clinic. He also goes to every cancer patient’s room in the hospital to alert them to the Patient Caregiver Support Group that meets on Wednesday evenings. Additionally, Roger keeps the snack area stocked and serves refreshments to patients in the treatment waiting area. Roger spends two full business days per week at Wake Forest Baptist Health Medical Center and has also volunteered in the Emergency waiting area, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Service Excellence, and Admissions.
Roger has also been involved in professional education at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. “Roger has been an outstanding speaker on behalf of the Cancer Patient Support Program, sharing with professional advisory groups, medical and undergraduate students, as well as individual patients, what it is like to be a patient,” said Richard McQuellon, Professor of Medicine and Director of Psychosocial Oncology and Cancer Patient Support Programs.
Understanding and sharing what patients need during their cancer battle is important for their emotional well being. Roger is a tireless advocate for education, working with patients and family members through the various institutional and community programs that are available. Those who have spent time with Roger see the qualities that enabled him to be recognized for the service award.
The most important quality that Roger brings to his work is his concern with relationships. Roger pays attention to people, listens well, and makes connections. He understands the value of a healing conversation. Patients and professionals recognize this quality immediately and trust him with their concerns. He helps patients and families navigate their way through the difficult territory of diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.
Roger describes the work with CPSP as “extremely rewarding work,” and recons that it has given him the opportunity to become a stronger person. He believes that his work enabled him to be “better able to cope with his own cancer.” When asked about his volunteering, Roger commented, “You have to have a certain ability to volunteer. I’ve learned a lot from the children at Brenner Children’s Hospital. Although sometimes it is difficult in my role, there are times when you can make someone’s day better. My belief is, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going.’”
Other awards that Roger has received include the Perseverance in Volunteerism category of the Forsyth County Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards. This category was created by the governor’s office and recognizes Roger as someone who has overcome significant personal obstacles in order to engage in service to others.