DISCOVERY BAY -- When she and a friend first started Kaleidoscope just over 10 years ago, Jan Page never realized it would become the program it is today, much less earn her the recognition as Citizen of the Year for Discovery Bay. When it all comes down to it she want to make sure that everyone realizes that the saying "it takes a village" is more than true in this case.
"I accept this award for our volunteers," Page said of the Kaleidoscope Cancer Connection organization team. "As we have grown, we've become a collaboration of many members of the community bringing together ideas and working toward a goal."
Page was honored as Discovery Bay Citizen of the Year by the chamber of commerce at the Sixth Annual State of the Town dinner on Jan. 21.
Page and a friend started Kaleidoscope in 2003 as an organization that gave out bags of "Hope" to cancer patients in the Discovery Bay area.
"We were so far from medical facilities here and cancer patients needed the support," she said.
Ten years before she had an idea for Kaleidoscope, Page, then 45, herself was diagnosed with ovarian and breast cancer.
By the time she was finished with an aggressive dose of chemotherapy, she had lost her hearing, as well as her teaching job, which was her passion.
She also found out the hard way that the small community had no support groups for cancer survivors.
"That is what Kaleidoscope is all about, supporting those who need help, be it cancer or some other life-threatening disease," Page said.
Over the years the organization has expanded with several different programs, including teams volunteers who reach out to those who have received the "Bag of Hope" to see what other help or referrals they might need.
It is a support group for patients, families and caregivers.
"This is a place to gather for comfort, sharing and learning from each other," she said.
The group also offers a group they call the "Krockpot Brigade." Volunteers throughout the communities from Bryon to Antioch help those families in need.
Meals are prepared when a patient is undergoing treatment and delivered to the families to help relieve some of the burden.
Kaleidoscope even offers a program where children can get involved by helping to make items that can be added to the "Bags of Hope."
Although the program generally supplies the Bags of Hope with local residents, family and friends of cancer patients from the area have shared the bags all over the world.
Items for the bags have all been donated from local residents and businesses. Many handmade blankets, hats and scarves have offered comfort to those who need something to hold on to.
"I am so proud of what all the Kaleidoscope volunteers have accomplished. Receiving the award as Citizen of Year is so important to me because it proves to me and all the volunteers that the community believes in what we have accomplished," she said.
More information and how you can become a volunteer or support the cause can be found at www.kaleidoscopehope.com.
To find out more about volunteering or supporting the cause, go to www.kaleidoscopehope.org or call 925-550-6198.