In the late 1980s, Jacqueline “Jackie” McAdam created and became the chairperson for the Katahdin Area Support Group for those with cancer. Her inspiration came from watching her late husband go through chemotherapy treatments. The 64-year old joined RSVP in 1994 and became an RSVP station supervisor for the Katahdin Area Support Group. In 2001, Jackie logged 1,816 volunteer hours. She has received accolades from the Millinocket Town Council and other public service providers. McAdam has been referred to as a “Guardian Angel.”
The Support Group has several aspects that benefit cancer patients and their families and friends. Through “Operation Breadbasket,” patients receive home delivery of bread, muffins and cookies. The “Love-One-Another Sharing & Caring Family” is a monthly gathering of cancer patients, family and friends at a private home to discuss the successes and disappointments of battling cancer. Speakers also come and talk to the group about pain management, legal advice and coping with emotional concerns. Education programs are sponsored for cancer patients as well as the community at large.
Each year, the group tries to make possible the “I Can Cope” program in cooperation with the American Cancer Society. A reference library has been created regarding the latest treatments. Volunteers provide transportation to doctor’s appointments and run errands for the patients. The Support Group also maintains an extensive inventory of patient care equipment, which is delivered, set up and loaned free of charge.
McAdam has motivated hundreds of volunteers over the years to provide emotional and physical support to cancer patients and their caregivers. Fifteen of her current volunteers are members of RSVP. Various components of the community have been successfully integrated into her service system – churches, businesses, service clubs and schools. Several other communities have sought McAdam’s assistance in establishing similar programs.