For Candace Tejidor and her husband, Andres, teaming up together in the fight against pancreatic cancer allows them not only to help others but to take part in a mutual interest – volunteering. Both serve in volunteer leadership roles with the Miami Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Candace is the Volunteer Chair, and Andres is the Affiliate Chair.
They’re not alone in this shared interest. Many couples and family members serve alongside each other as volunteers in the same affiliate – a testament to how volunteering for the organization is important for families affected by this disease and can sometimes help them heal.
Candace and Andres have been able to grow their affiliate and take it to the next level because of their commitment to each other and the cause. After Andres lost his mom to pancreatic cancer, he wanted to volunteer with an organization that cared about changing outcomes for people fighting the disease as much as he did.
“Andres wasn’t aware of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network while his mom was sick,” Candace said. “After her passing, he researched volunteer opportunities and stumbled upon an open Affiliate Chair position…he jumped at the opportunity to lead.”
Candace, an already passionate volunteer for a handful of organizations, had her first experience with the organization at PurpleLight, shortly after Andres became the Affiliate Chair. She said she was blown away by how the event had a message of hope.
“It was very emotionally compelling and powerful to see everyone come together in honor and in memory of their loved ones,” Candace said.
“The next month we attended our first PurpleStride, and I was able to witness both of the organization’s signature events within a short period of time. The unity and dedication other volunteer families had was motivating for me.”
Those events inspired Candace to do more and channeled her already existing interest in volunteering to a cause that was so close to her husband’s heart – they knew they would make a bigger impact together as a team.
“I wanted to support Andres in any way I could and help him fight back against the disease that took his mom. The more meetings and events I attended, the more I wanted to be involved. We both knew volunteering together would be a great way to honor her.”
Candace eventually took on the role of Volunteer Chair, leading the recruitment efforts in the affiliate. Thanks to past volunteer roles, she knew she had the skills to help the Miami Affiliate serve its community. She ensures the affiliate’s volunteer base remains strong and also helps new volunteers find roles that will allow them to play to their strengths and interests.
Helping others fight this disease has brought even more meaning to Candace’s and Andres’ lives, and they agree it will continue to be a strong thread in the fabric of their relationship.
“Volunteering has always brought me joy,” Candace said, “and spending time with my husband volunteering together has brought me even more happiness. I thrive on knowing that our hard work is bringing about change for everyone affected by this disease. It’s just one more thing that we have in common that we’re passionate about.”
Wage Hope like Candace and Andres and get involved in your community. Encourage friends and family to do the same!