Meet Barb Tiller – Komen Puget Sound Volunteer
Recently, Komen Puget Sound awarded Barb Tiller with a Lifetime Achievement award, recognizing her 23-year service as a volunteer for the Affiliate.
Barb started her volunteer career at Komen Puget Sound in a parking lot during the 1996 Race for the Cure. “I was volunteering at the time for a number of events around town, Junior Diabetes, the 45th Street Clinic,” says Barb. “I would do it with a friend, and we would joke we were in it “for a t-shirt and a hot dog.” Barb was assigned to the parking lot to direct cars, along with two breast cancer survivors who she remembers to today. “They shared their stories with me about what they were going through and the support they were receiving from the Komen community. They were so positive and uplifting. I was so inspired! And I said to myself: ‘I am coming back next year.’”
Next year turned into 23 years of volunteering, with Barb joining the Race Committee in 2004. When asked what has kept her engaged with the Affiliate for so many years, Barb responds, “the survivors are the main reason, women like Jackie Meijo and Princess (Jeri Worklan). Education is also at the top of why I volunteer.”
Barb sees a particular need for breast health education among African American women. “Women who a part of my community, African Americans, are particularly at risk and need education. There are so many taboos around mammograms. We take care of everybody but ourselves. Then when we finally get tested, we are often in the later stages. Komen does such an excellent job of educating, particularly working through community groups.”
Barb is looking forward to this year’s More Than Pink Walk and its new location. “It’s a beautiful location! You can walk along the lake with your friends. You’ll meet survivors, hear their stories and be inspired, just like I was 23 years ago.”