YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

John Keating — Founder, Seattle Face 2 Face Network “Reservoir Dawgs”

John created an organized support group just for husbands and partners when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30.

John and wife Wendy.

John and wife Wendy.

In the winter of 2008, John was self-employed and focused on his business, until his wife Wendy heard the words, “You have breast cancer.” The news surprised the couple and changed their lives. Wendy began chemotherapy in the early spring of 2008 and continued into the fall of the same year. What was supposed to be outpatient chemotherapy shifted to an inpatient treatment plan. John worried Wendy’s chemo was taking a toll on her physically and mentally.

John happened to tell his physical therapist about his wife’s diagnosis and she suggested Wendy call her colleague, another young woman with breast cancer involved with Young Survival Coalition (YSC). Wendy found other women who understood her challenges.

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Not long after that, John began to wonder, where’s the group that supports the co-survivors? John then had an idea: why not create a time and place for the guys to get together? Carl Taylor and Brandon Wright, both husbands of young survivors agreed, and John had just the place — the Reservoir Tavern. A new YSC Face 2 Face (F2F) “The Reservoir Dawgs” began.

The Resevoir Dawgs.

The Resevoir Dawgs.

To make this endeavor successful, the men decided on a few guidelines: Meet the first Friday of every month, cell phones couldn’t ring (unless they expected a family emergency) and no medical advice could be given.  The guys also took up a monthly collection to assist any of the young women who might need it. Money was thrown in the bucket if they spilled a drink or a cell phone rang and most importantly if you spilled another’s drink — you not only owed, but you bought him another!

The sole purpose of the night was to give the guys time to discuss their own questions and sometimes even their fears.

The Reservoir Dawgs grew, and the members came to depend on each other, helping with childcare and assisting each other in the job market. Building friendships that will last a lifetime.

Thank you John for taking an active role and creating a real and lasting solution to give support to caregivers!

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