Meet Our Volunteers

CMC is privileged to have over 200 volunteers. All give generously of their time, energy, talent and heart.

Volunteer practitioners make it possible for CMC to provide free integrative cancer care to our underserved clients.

This complementary care alleviates the side effects of conventional cancer treatments and includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Western herbs, massage, body work, energy work, homeopathy and guided imagery. 

Other volunteers provide additional critical services: transportation, language interpretation and clinic support services. For more details, go to our We Need You page.

Now let’s meet some of our fabulous volunteers!

Ligia - CMC Cranial Sacral Practitioner - 10 years

What brought you to us? 
I wanted to be part of CMC after reading an article about their work. The therapies they offer are close to my heart. I think everyone can have the opportunity to experience a massage or an acupuncture session.

What do you like best about volunteering?
I like the sense of community at the Clinic. I like seeing the talent and the compassion of my fellow volunteers. I like seeing the courage of the clients.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
I remember how a family of about 17 came to one of the memorial gatherings that CMC offered.

Karen - CMC Acupuncturist - 15 years

What brought you to us? 
At first I was looking for a community of healers to work with as I was new to the area. Since I have always been involved with doing service for people in need I wanted to be involved with the work that CMC was doing. Because no one should have to face cancer or any serious disease without healers who treat a person, an individual with her own feelings & experiences. I took a break for a few years when my kids were young as I needed to be available for them. But I returned shortly after my husband was treated for colon cancer. That time was so frightening & overwhelming. When he was finished with his treatment I realized I had to return to CMC. He had excellent doctors and access to complimentary care during his cancer journey so we had lots of support. I learned first-hand the stress of life when a loved one receives cancer diagnosis & I felt a need to provide any support I could to the clients at CMC.

What do you like best about volunteering?
What I like best about volunteering is the people. The CMC staff, the clients, the volunteers. The community.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
I have met so many courageous and spirited women here over the years. I am constantly inspired by them. They remind me of how precious life is and that the most important things in life are those we do for one another.

Grace - CMC Interpreter/Support Services - 3 Years

What brought you to us? 
I wanted to help people who are in need. I came here with my cousin who is a client here and the front desk person impressed me and inspired me to be a part of the organization. Then I asked about volunteering.

What do you like best about volunteering?
Half the time I do interpreting but the other half I help Tricia with the clients doing Exercise Counseling. When I’m here I learn so much and I get to interpret to the clients and it makes them feel good. It feels very touching. It’s great to see them improving in their exercising. I love working with Tricia. We are a great team.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
I love to see the smiles on the clients. I love the volunteer team. I really get something from this energy. I love to see the clients’ health improving. One of our clients had a difficult time moving her hands.. And each month I could see the progression…she was able to lift her hands over her head!

Lee - CMC Shift Coordinator/Support Services - 3 Years

What brought you to us? 
I wanted to gain experience working in a clinic that helped people beyond just assigning prescriptions. CMC helps where traditional medicine cannot by treating the symptoms and the person, and knowing this, I immediately signed up to volunteer at the CMC.

What do you like best about volunteering?
I love the community at the CMC. It’s incredibly supportive and I feel honored to be in a place where I can help others who need it most.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
I don’t have a particular moment that stands out to me. However, I do know that the most memorable part of being at Charlotte Maxwell is seeing the smiles on the faces of the patients once they arrive at the clinic.

Tricia - CMC Exercise Counselor - 2 Years

What brought you to us? 
Sunflower Wellness. We specialize in Exercise Counseling and have worked with Charlotte Maxwell for years. 

What do you like best about volunteering?
The clients are truly inspiring and I truly love every one of them! The CMC team, the staff, all of the other practitioners make each shift a great experience. Plus, I especially like “check in”.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
The rewards of working with these special clients, hoping I am making a difference in their lives; they certainly make a difference in mine.

Sally - CMC Shiatsu Practitioner - 13 Years

What brought you to us? 
Back then I was a dedicated swimmer. One of the people I used to swim with was a staff person at Charlotte Maxwell. She encouraged me to become a volunteer.

What do you like best about volunteering?
The ambience, the staff and clients are wonderful. Clients are remarkable as they go through their horrendous journey. I’m so grateful to be able to work with them and help them relax. I love the diversity of this clinic. Being a white woman, I’m so thrilled that I get a sense of what life is like for women with color. Their courage and positive attitudes are life changing.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
Everyone memory is a great experience. The conversations with the clients and getting a glimpse into their lives is something I especially carry with me.

Susan - CMC Reflexologist - 12 Years

What brought you to us? 
While caring for my grandmother in 1993 who was stricken with Lung Cancer, I started to massage her legs and feet. She said, “Susan, you should be a caregiver because your hands are so soothing.” They are really something.” My grandmother passed in 1995 and I never forgot her words. As the years progressed, I welcomed her suggestion and enrolled in the McKinnon Institute in Oakland, and in 2004, I achieved my Reflexology Certification, followed by my Swedish Certification in 2006. Later I completed a course in Massaging People Living with Cancer.

What do you like best about volunteering?
Volunteering with Charlotte Maxwell has strengthened my mind, body and soul. I take this strength and return it to my clients. Also, the staff is so special to me. The clients are so kind and appreciative of our services.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
My memory is the special day that I started volunteering for Charlotte Maxwell, along with the memory of my grandmother, Synthia Hill, who led me to you. Thank you Charlotte Maxwell for fulfilling my life!

Patricia - CMC Clinical Hypnotherapy/Guided Imagery Practitioner - 5 Years

What brought you to us? 
I came to CMC because I heard it was a warm and wonderful place, giving care, hope and support to women who need it. Making your way through cancer takes focus — it is one of the most challenging experiences life can bring. Friends who were volunteers told me their time in this community of caregivers was deeply meaningful and fulfilling. I enjoy it so much – it fills my heart and I learn more with every shift.

What do you like best about volunteering?
I like spending quality time with the clients and working together to help them relax, and be present and comfortable – and to strengthen resources and remind them of all they can do to get the best out of their treatments, and hopefully, to lighten the burden a little, as well. It’s so great to see people leaving the Clinic smiling and feeling better. I feel very lucky to be a part of this great collaboration of people, doing something so worthwhile.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
Several years ago, one of my clients was in such a physical state that she could not get out of a wheel chair, body tight and twisted and face turned up to one side with tension, and she could not communicate to me what her immediate challenges were. I decided the only thing I could do was to give her a deeply relaxing session with a visit to a safe, private place and a little time for internal healing. At the end of that session, her entire demeanor had changed – her face straightened out, and her body was relaxed and comfortable. Even without being able to communicate, we managed to help her feel so much better. This experience also taught me something invaluable about the body-mind connection, and left me even more in awe of the human mind.

Annette - CMC Reiki Practitioner - 6 Years

What brought you to us? 
Years ago I was at a large group gathering of Reiki Practitioners and a woman stood up. She announced to the group that she was a volunteer at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic where low income women with cancer could go. She said the clinic could use more Reiki Practitioner volunteers. I thought to myself at that moment she was speaking that I wanted to volunteer there. It was the perfect time for me as I was changing careers from a full time job I had for 31 years. I contacted CMC and signed up for the very next volunteer training and orientation. 

What do you like best about volunteering?
I like being of service and being in a positive and compassionate environment. The staff is great to work with and clients are very appreciative of all the services that CMC has to offer.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
A memory that stands out for me is of my first day of volunteering at the clinic years ago. A first client I met was so spirited and very strong and courageous. She had been coming to the clinic for quite awhile. I could see she felt very comfortable at the clinic. She greeted and talked with other clients and practitioners and asked how they were doing. It was amazing to see this spirit even though she had been battling her cancer for a long time and didn’t feel well. Since then I have met many more clients who are amazing women as well.

Ali - CMC Interpreter - 5 Years

What brought you to us? 
A long long time ago, I was an intern working at Full Belly Farm and I remember learning that some of the farm’s veggie box subscribers would occasionally donate their weekly produce to a place called The Charlotte Maxwell Clinic. The more I learned about it, the more impressed I was with the clinic’s mission and practices. Then I studied Western Herbal Medicine and became even more interested in the alternative therapies the clinic provides. Now that I work primarily as a journalist, I volunteer at Charlotte Maxwell simply as support staff and occasionally I offer my conversational Spanish skills to clients who need interpretation during their sessions.

What do you like best about volunteering?
For me, it’s a practice of devotion to the greater community. I love being a part of something that is fueled by a desire to help and support each other through some of the hardest times. I love the conversations that I have with fellow volunteers and with clients. I love putting out fresh produce (often from Full Belly Farm!) for women to take home to their families. And I love being able to offer a language bridge between Spanish-speaking clients and their practitioners.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
Once I gave a client a ride home from the clinic. She was suffering so much from her illness and from other difficulties in her life. But during the drive, she asked me all about my life. I shared some of my own struggles with her and she said she would pray for me. It reminded me that healing through human connection is a two way street.

Kaila - CMC Naturopathic Doctor - 2 Years

What brought you to us? 
I was new to the Bay Area and wanted to do some volunteer work on my day off. I looked around and found CMC and was inspired by the mission and works that this center offers. I’m a naturopathic doctor so my focus in health care is integrative medicine using gentle holistic therapies to help patients overcome their health concerns. CMC has all the therapies that I would do for my cancer patient. So knowing that I can be a part of CMC to help patients to tolerate their chemo, radiation, and/or surgery better while they fight their cancer, I want to help. So that’s how I become a member of CMC.

What do you like best about volunteering?
The best part about volunteering is interacting with the patients and staff members. I feel humbled and excited whenever patient comes back and said that they feel better. As for the staff members, they make everything fun and efficient. It’s great to have fun while helping other to heal.

Is there a memory from CMC that you will always carry with you?
There are many precious moments that I have at CMC. My most precious moment is when a stage 4 cancer patient coming in with her daughter to seek homeopathy therapy. My patient had just finished chemotherapy and is under a lot of pain since she is very fragile and weak. It was hard to talk to her since we had a language barrier and she was in so much pain that I was feeling helpless. But by the end of the visit, when that patient walked out of the room. I got to see her smile and she has a glimpse of hope in her eyes. I don’t know what I did because I just talked to her and try to understand her condition. I didn’t even give her anything other than my time. After a few months, the patient had her second round of chemotherapy, unfortunately her body couldn’t accept it and she passed away. I was very sad with this news. But when I heard from the daughter, she said I made a difference to her mother. She was feeling better until her second chemotherapy. I was glad that I get a chance to meet both of them. It remind me that before being a good doctor, I need to be a good listener and just listen to the patient’s concern. So when I see my patient, I let them talk and get to know them better before I ask them about their symptoms.