In January 2002 when Caroline Brantley was just 14 years old, her mom Terry was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Terry underwent multiple major surgeries and both chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Caroline witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of cancer. After courageously battling cancer for 18 months, Terry passed away in July 2003.
This summer Caroline was able to use her very personal cancer experience in a positive way. She served as an intern in the UNC Lineberger Patient and Family Resource Center. “I know how scary the whole experience can be, and I think it is so important that patients and their families know what to expect, and are knowledgeable about all aspects of a cancer diagnosis,” Caroline explained.
While at the Patient and Family Resource Center (PFRC) she accomplished many things. The PFRC is always looking for new, updated resources, so she spent a lot of time researching online for new educational materials that could be added to the center. She was able to find some excellent publications and expand the library collection. She also helped with many programs offered through the PFRC, including Look Good…Feel Better, the Boutique, the library, and Friday Family Coffee.
“Cancer patients and their families are going through so much, so it's always good to try to do something for them that will make their day even just a little bit better,” Caroline explained. “Often times, the smallest gesture will make a patient so happy, which I love. Whether it's bringing a fruit cup to someone getting treatment, or helping a woman find the perfect hat, I love seeing how appreciative and grateful the patient always is.”
Caroline is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the daughter of Cooper Brantley and the late Terry Brantley of Greensboro. Fortunately, Caroline will continue working in the PFRC two or three days a week during her senior year.