Jeanne and Armin Hagen
The nurses in the oncology infusion floor call them “the dynamic duo” for their energy and compassion. Since 1993, Jeanne Hagen has volunteered in the clinical cancer center, helping patients to be more comfortable during their visits and infusions and working with the nurses to make sure needed supplies are stocked and easily accessible.
”We’re here for the patients and the nurses,” said Jeanne’s husband, Armin, a volunteer since 1994. The couple distribute newspapers, offer juices and other nourishment and blankets and pillows, but most important, they offer support and care to patients and families. “Patients and families are here for hours,” explained Jeanne, “so we want them to be comfortable.”
The four hours they spend at UNC are greatly appreciated by the patients, families and nurses. “They have developed strong relationships with patients and nurses,” said Pat Decator, a longtime nurse in the infusion area. “They’re the constant presence on Fridays, and our patients and families look forward to seeing them. They also help the nurses by keeping the storage closets stocked and orderly, critical since our clinic stays so busy.”
“It’s payback time,” the Hagens say. “We’ve had happy lives, so we’re glad to help here.” The Hagens moved to Fearrington Village in 1991, leaving Long Island to move to an area with “an academic medical center and a good environment for families.” They both had retired from Sperry (now Unisys) when they decided to relocate to North Carolina.
In addition to her duties at the clinic, Jeanne also volunteered to participate in two Breast Cancer Prevention Trials. Her mother died of breast cancer, and her sister had the disease, so Jeanne thought taking part in the trial was a positive step. ”In fact,” she said, “it saved my life.” Because trial participants are so closely followed, when a small spot appeared on a mammogram, the follow-up care revealed a spot on her ovaries that was quickly removed while pre-cancerous.
Both are active with the UNC Hospitals Volunteer Association and with various committees at Fearrington.