Although Gladys says that after breast cancer she "could have just stayed home doing nothing," everyone at SHARE has serious doubts that this could ever have been the case.
Just some of the tasks Gladys has taken on at SHARE include everything from reorganizing the office supplies and doing fundraising research to entering data in the SHARE database and writing thank you notes. She also hangs pictures and fixed the cabinets in the office kitchen.
"Like everyone else I came to SHARE when I first had breast cancer," Gladys says. "I found the brochure in the surgeon's office and the staff there said, call them they're great, and I did. I noticed the brochure mentioned volunteering so about a year and a half later I came to SHARE and people were super nice."
After about a year Gladys trained for the SHARE Helpline. "I volunteer in the office three days a week and every other month I do one night on the Helpline. I find it to be wonderful," she says. "If you have had the same thing, you understand."
Gladys gives so much of herself to SHARE because of the support among the women who work there. "The ladies who work on the Helpline are tremendously dedicated," she says. She gets emails on the weekend from other Helpline volunteers, asking her if she would be a peer, or would speak to someone right away. Gladys doesn't wait for the next week to call; she calls immediately.
"I am proud to be part of a network, of this family, that does so much good," she says. "We get calls referred from all over. They don't realize that they are calling us right here in New York. So I always say, when you see New York on TV, you know that we're right here in Times Square."
When speaking with callers Gladys tries to convey calm and courage. "I tell them that this is a new century, that women survive, and that they have a wonderful chance." She hopes that by the time the conversation ends they are smiling.
"When they hang up the phone they should feel that they received real positive help. And that makes me feel terrific," she says. "I guess I could do some other kind of volunteer work but I do this because I am dedicated to helping women with breast cancer. The way that I was helped—I need to help other people. This is my passion."