A Volunteer Rebuilds His Life by Serving Others

Bob and Jan Carraway

Bob Carraway pays tribute to the life and loving spirit of his wife, Jan, as a volunteer at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center and with an estate gift to the Spiritual Care Endowment.

Patients and visitors at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center are greeted by a large poster featuring former patient Jan Carraway and her husband, Bob—both longtime volunteers at the Cancer Center. Two quotes neatly sum up this exceptional couple: "We will never be the same again," Bob said following Jan's cancer journey, and from the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

After Jan successfully beat breast cancer, Bob agreed to join her as a volunteer. Thinking it would be difficult to revisit the spot where his beloved wife fought her battle, Bob's initial reluctance gave way to "helping out for a short time."

Six years later, Bob spends four days a week at the place he now considers his second home, even becoming something of an unofficial ambassador. "I work by my heart," says Bob, who is well-known for his acts of kindness—bringing blankets, treats and puzzles to patients waiting for treatment, consoling others, praying with some, charging their cell phones and sometimes even shedding tears of joy or sadness in solidarity with patients.

Bob's optimism and desire to help others could have been dashed when a tragic car accident claimed Jan's life in 2018. Instead, in tribute to Jan, he continues to volunteer at the Cancer Center. Recently, he committed a gift from his estate to benefit the Spiritual Care Endowment at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, which supports chaplaincy services for cancer patients across Arizona.

"Jan is working through me right now," he says. "She introduced me to God. And if someone else can be helped through spiritual services, that's why I give."

Giving back to our patients and families honors the memory of a loved one and instills hope and happiness among others. To learn how your gifts can make a difference at Banner Health, contact Kristie Leshinskie, MPH, CAP® at 480-215-7433 or kristie.leshinskie@bannerhealth.com.