Going Above and Beyond



After moving to North Carolina in the summer of 1989, Bernadette Langhorne knew she needed to find a specialized care team to treat her rare blood disorder. She never imagined that three Duke Cancer Institute volunteers would become a critical part of her new care team.

“My earth angels,” Langhorne begins. “They are my family. The moment I met them, I knew we would have a special bond. God led me to Duke not only for the excellent medical care, but also for these relationships.”

Over the past several years, Langhorne and DCI volunteers Michele Hudgins, Tom Klimasz and John Terry formed a strong friendship. The trio always makes sure to visit Bernadette during her treatment sessions, and she carries their encouragement and kindness with her throughout her days.

“They are one of my life’s biggest blessings,” said Langhorne. “There have been so many challenging days during treatment, but the one constant has always been those three. They always look out for me, and bring such a smile to my face every treatment session. I can’t imagine enduring these treatments without them. They truly are the best people in this world and I am so thankful they spend their time with me. How lucky am I?”

Volunteers play a vital role in the patient and family experience,” shared Matt Pennachi, Duke Cancer Patient Support Program volunteercoordinator. “Not only do they offer comfort and companionship, but they help educate patients and their families about support resources and services that are available at no cost.”

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Take a moment to thank a volunteer.  If you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities email Matt.Pennachi@Duke.edu or call 919.684.3651.


Above video produced by Jessica Hyland, communications strategist, DCI Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers, and Kristy Everette Sartin, director, external relations, Duke Supportive Care and Survivorship Center