Volunteer Spotlight: Maryellen Holden and the CTBTA

Maryellen Holden is a great example of how giving back and making a difference in the world can start in your own community. For more than six years, she has been a dedicated volunteer for the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance (CTBTA), an organization dedicated to providing hope and support to brain tumor patients and caregivers, while advancing brain tumor awareness, quality of care, and brain tumor research.
We recently spoke with Maryellen to learn more about what inspired her to become involved, how she contributes as a volunteer, and the advice would have for someone who is considering getting involved.
Maryellen's involvement with the CTBTA came about through her daughter Eileen. At a certain point Eileen knew that medically, no one could do anything more for her dad and Maryellen's husband, Kevin, who was dying of a brain tumor. Eileen made it her mission to find a local organization that dealt with brain tumors, and she found the CTBTA.
Two weeks before Kevin passed away, their family attend Eileen's softball team fundraiser, “Grey Matters,” where Maryellen met Kim Roy-Canning, CTBTA’s former Executive Director, and Tracey Gamer-Fanning, one of the founders of the CTBTA. After speaking with both women, Maryellen knew that she would do what she could to help spread awareness.
Read on to hear from Maryellen and to be inspired by her story!

What kind of work have you been doing as a volunteer?

Initially, I engaged my high school students in walking with pediatric brain tumor survivors during CTBTA’s Annual Path of Hope Walk. Six years ago, I became the Volunteer Coordinator for the Path of Hope Walk. This involves gathering approximately fifty volunteers to help with many aspects of the Path of Hope Walk.

What is one of your most memorable and rewarding experiences as a volunteer?

Each year at the Path of Hope event, I stop to look around at all of the wonderful volunteers that are working, and I marvel at their good will. They do their jobs well, are welcoming to all, and join in the mission to spread awareness. Nearly every volunteer signs up to return the following year. They want to be part of this joyful event and that is rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering volunteering?

Find a cause that matters to you and jump in! I believe that giving of oneself to help others creates a strong feeling of accomplishment.

Have you seen any positive changes in the community since you started volunteering?

The number of participants in the Path of Hope Walk continues to increase, and with that comes increased awareness of CTBTA’s mission, and that is amazing.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience volunteering for CTBTA?

Volunteering for CTBTA has allowed me to meet many wonderfully giving people, and to meet many strong and courageous people fighting the good fight with hope for their futures. For the opportunity to be part of this community, I am most grateful.

To sign up to be a volunteer at one of our upcoming nonprofit events, fill out the form here!

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