Care Planning, Caregiving, COVID, Needs Navigation, Palliative Care
April 2023 Volunteer Spotlight: Judy Hodges
We are excited to spotlight NPAF volunteer Judy Hodges of Chesterfield, VA for the April 2023 Volunteer Spotlight.
Judy Hodges (pictured top row, center with her family) of Chesterfield, VA has been a volunteer with NPAF since 2007. She became a volunteer after she herself was helped by PAF when she was dealing with her first cancer diagnosis. Ever since, she has done everything to make sure others don’t experience the same barriers to care that she did. We’re excited to share her story and spotlight her this month.
Describe the advocacy work that you’re doing in your community and what motivated you to start?
I help others in my community find the resources they need and, of course, recommend Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF). I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and had a maximum payout on my health insurance of $25,000. PAF helped me with getting my bills reduced. My life was saved by the kindness of strangers, and I want to pass that kindness on to others. I’ve been volunteering for 16 great years and I plan on volunteering until the day I die.
I am appalled that among the 7 major industrialized countries, the USA ranks last overall in healthcare. In addition to dealing with my own cancer diagnosis, I am a caregiver for my adult disabled daughter and have advocated for her for 29 years. By advocating for her, I hope that I am helping others in the same situation without a personal advocate. I will never stop advocating for better healthcare in the USA.
What advice would you give to volunteers who would like to do something similar?
Just get out there and do it. You probably know people dealing with the same health conditions that you are dealing with. That’s a perfect place to start helping others. Be aware of others with health issues that you may run into at church and community activities. You may be able to provide them with resources from your own experience and you can always refer people to PAF.
Since you’ve been a volunteer with NPAF, what are some of the things you are most proud of?
Judy Hodges sharing her story at Patient Congress Story Slam 2018
I helped get the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 and testified before an FDA committee to fast track Perjeta for stage 1 and 2 breast cancer patients. I’ve met with my legislators in Congress and the VA General Assembly. I will never tire of sharing my story, so others won’t have to go through what I’ve been through.