North Shore resident Barbara Wick has made a career out of giving back through board service. Mother of 3 and grandmother of 5, Wick professes to love it, and we’re compelled to believe her.
In total she has served on more than 20 volunteer boards. More inspiring, she has done so while battling ovarian cancer.
After being diagnosed in July of 2003, Wick joined the Oncology Patient Advisory Board (OPAB). Working in conjunction with Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Wick and fellow OPAB members act as patient advocates and seek ways for ENH to improve care. Wick and other board members develop relationships with organizations on behalf of ENH, fundraise for outreach events and are currently working to create a patients’ needs survey.
One of the most important aspects of Wick’s work with OPAB is to ensure that patients are aware of and utilize the various programs and resources the ENH has to offer.
This doesn’t seem complicated, but as Wick explains, patients are often overwhelmed. They may receive crucial information about these resources at inopportune times, such as during a diagnosis (when one is already awash with stress and fear). By working with hospital administrators, the board works to rectify these situations and improve communication between patient and doctor.
Throughout her cancer treatment, Wick has sought refuge at Northbrook’s Cancer Wellness Center, a place that offers supportive services such as yoga and counseling. Driven by a desire to help others, Wick informally assists other cancer patients by researching articles that address new treatments and ways to relieve the side effects of cancer treatment.
In addition to her work with OPAB, one of Wick’s favorite boards is the North Shore Senior Center. Comprised of about 40 members, the NSSC Board works to improve the quality of life for North Shore senior citizens. Currently an active member of the NSSC, Wick served as Board Chair from 2000-2004. Initially, she describes being uninterested in joining the board.
“A friend called me and said ‘You need something to do—you should join this board!’“ she says with a laugh. “I was pushed into it.”
For Wick, it was the right choice.
“This board is so unlike many others; no negativity, everyone gets along,” she says.
As a former biology teacher and insurance agent, dedicated board member and loving wife, mother and grandmother, Wick has been busy!
But as evidenced from her work with other cancer victims, she is never too busy to help others. The trick, she says, is to know yourself well and to devote yourself fully to that which you do best.
And always keep your sense of humor.
“I have a moderate amount of energy—and a fairly patient husband!” she quips.