volunteer

As a nonprofit organization, the Oral Cancer Foundation relies on the dedication and support of volunteers who selflessly donate their time, talent, and energy to help us achieve our mission of reducing the death rate from this disease through public awareness and early detection. This page will provide links to the OCF Regional Volunteers and related events in each geographic area.

You may contact the foundation directly at this link if you need additional information, would like to participate in OCF actively by becoming a registered OCF volunteer, or if you have a group that would like to co-sponsor an event with the Oral Cancer Foundation.

OCF conducts awareness and early detection events with dental schools, universities, hospitals, and other health and patient-related organizations. We also cooperate with a diverse group of private organizations that wish their club or group to be involved in contributing to charitable events. Groups as diverse as runners and cycling clubs to scouting and church groups can participate to help raise awareness and the early detection of oral cancers. We welcome partners who share our values and desires and wish to make a difference in the world around them through active participation in charitable events with The Oral Cancer Foundation.

Volunteering brings rewards

Volunteerism—whether through online forum participation, through educating the public, or through fund-raising efforts—can be an emotional healing agent, distracting oral cancer survivors, patients and caregivers away from lurking depression, giving them a cause to focus on. Volunteerism is also a bridge-maker, drawing diverse community members together, spreading awareness, and opening minds and hearts.

Volunteering definitely has been a benefit for me,” says survivor Barbara Boland of Philadelphia, Penn. “I have this other focus. I can say ‘Now I have a goal: I’m going to work on improving the five-year survival rate, help people to be diagnosed earlier.’ It helps me avoid the whole ‘Why me’ side, the depressive side.

Boland recently rallied her family members, co-workers, colleagues and friends to raise $15,000 to give toward a walk-a-thon staged in support of the Oral Cancer Foundation. The Walk for Awareness, produced by another survivor, cheer coach Minnie Ashworth of Chesapeake, VA, was held there in mid-April of this year. Long steeped in the spirit of volunteerism, Ashworth took on the challenge of producing the walk/run/screening event not only to raise money but to raise awareness about a disease that, despite its staggering toll, flies low under the public’s health-knowledge radar. The task was daunting: Ashworth had never produced a fund-raising event. But with help from her family, fellow survivors, and her doctors, Ashworth managed to stage not only the fund-raising walk, but an oral-cancer screening event as well.

I would guess there were 80 to 100 people in attendance with all of them getting oral screenings,” Ashworth says. “Daniel Karakla and Trad Wadsworth, my doctors, were there to do screenings along with Dr. Betsy Hagan, associate dean for clinics at the VCU School of Dentistry.

The doctors extended themselves at the event, Ashworth says. “They already have my respect, but they gained it twofold when they did more than just screen for oral cancer. They could have come, spent a couple of hours, and gone home. But they didn’t do that. They walked miles, talked to the other survivors, and made an impression on everyone there.”

Ashworth, who with her husband, Stacy, has ten children, surmises the event made a lasting impression on participants who are too young right now to appreciate the impact. During breaks in the screenings, the doctors involved did oral examinations on the young children in attendance, a group that would not normally be candidates for an oral cancer screening. “When I saw children as young as 8 or 9 getting screened, it hit me that these children would forever be educated on oral health, meaning they stand a better chance of catching oral cancer in the early, very curable stages,” Ashworth sa