Sue Sadecki, Nominator
“Having cancer has made me realize that you volunteer because of the difference it makes and how it makes others feel.”
At 26, Branden Lombardi has fought off cancer six times. Instead of dwelling on his illness, he has dedicated his energy to helping others, even from his hospital bed. Since 2000, Lombardi has contributed more than 5,000 hours and raised more than $250,000 to outfit Arizona hospitals with items to help patients pass the time more easily. As he combated his own boredom in the hospital, he decided to host a golf tournament to raise $20,000 to purchase books, CDs, televisions, hand held games items to entertain cancer patients at the East Valley Regional Cancer Center. That was the start of the Branden Lombardi Foundation. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for cancer patients at local hospitals. In 2002, Branden had the honor of participating in the Winter Olympic Torch Relay. He is also a spokesperson for United Blood Services and each summer, he volunteers to be a counselor at Camp Rainbow for young patients.