Peg George is happy to help out in The Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital. She knows just by being there she has a positive influence on the patients.
"They know I had cancer and I'm still here," says the Doylestown resident.
Peg was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986. Doctors found the disease following a mammogram. Doylestown Hospital surgeon Joseph Curci, MD, performed a mastectomy. "I thought I could have five years left," she says. "I had to think, 'What do I really want to do?'"
Needless to say, she made it well past five years. And what she wanted to do was become involved in her community and help others dealing with cancer. About a year after surgery, she was trained to be a Reach for Recovery volunteer with the American Cancer Society. Through Volunteer Services at Doylestown Hospital, Peg started visiting women in the hospital or at home who had just undergone surgery. She shared her experience and hope. "Most were happy to have someone come visit," she says. "I tried to be upbeat." She continued the volunteer work for many years. "I think a lot of them saw I looked healthy and was upbeat even 10 or 12 years later."
Peg has always been involved in the community, serving on the Central Bucks School Board and in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. She officially retired in 1990 but didn't stop working. "I had a desire to do something more in this area," she says. She served as chair of Doylestown Hospital's Community Cancer Committee, continued to volunteer with Reach for Recovery, and is involved with the hospital's breast cancer support group. More recently, Peg started volunteering at The Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital. She helps by taking samples to the lab, assisting staff and talking with patients. She lets them know she's survived cancer for more than two decades.
For Peg, volunteering is meaningful not just in terms of being there for patients. "What keeps me going are the people who work here," she says. "They are so good with the patients. It's a very dedicated group of nurses, and really, all the staff is very dedicated."
Peg feels she's "hard-wired" to use her talents to help others. "I'm made this way. It's part of me to be active in the community and places where I can, and I'm comfortable doing it here."
She's a busy lady. Peg is a writer and has authored books on genealogy and women during WWII and has written a memoir. She's busy with her family and friends, takes classes at Delaware Valley College and belongs to a book group. She routinely walks for exercise. And she doesn't take anything for granted, including her experience with cancer.
"Having had cancer has made me think for myself and for others that you should try to do the things you want to do because you never know what's around the corner."