Barbara Kavanagh

Arizona Myeloma Network

When Jack Kavanagh was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells, his wife, Barbara Kavanagh, MSW, went in search of information and treatment. To her surprise, there was little support for patients with this disease. After years of frustration struggling to obtain treatment information for her family she decided to create the Arizona Myeloma Network (AzMN). AzMN provides education, awareness and advocacy for multiple myeloma patients and their families.

As founder and president of AzMN, she puts much of her energy into promoting its mission of bringing together scientists, businesses, cancer specialists and healthcare providers to develop new research and improve the quality of life for cancer patients. In 2008, because of an increased demand for similar cancer education programs and services, especially among Native Americans, AzMN expanded its focus to other forms of the disease including breast cancer.

For the past 17 years she has been a fulltime caregiver to her husband while continuing to help others. Volunteering has given her enough experience to author three handbooks on volunteerism.

Kavanagh jokingly describes herself as a gerbil on a little wheel running as fast as she can. She adds, “Even though volunteering seems to monopolize my life, I get so much back.”

To Volunteer for AzMN contact: http://azmyelomanetwork.org