Children playing

Spotlight on Our Volunteers

At The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology®, dedicated volunteers – both new and seasoned - assist several days a week with the work of research, education and outreach. Each is a member of Hackensack University Medical Center’s (HUMC) volunteer program, bringing invaluable assistance to staff and enriching the overall patient experience.

Helping to fulfill the mission of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center are (left to right): Janice Meister, Charles Blain and Ginny Lieneck. 


The Center’s newest volunteer is high school senior Charles Blain (center). While pursuing studies at a local technical school, Charles spends one day a week assisting with office work and learning about the Center’s mission. The skills and information he’s learning help fuel his interest in environmental science, which he hopes to major in as a college freshman next September.

To facilitate Charles’ current high school culinary studies, the Center recently arranged for Mr. Blain to meet with HUMC Catering Coordinator Jeff Leake. Through their meeting, Mr. Blain had a full tour of the kitchen and food preparation operations at HUMC’s Second Street Café. Mr. Leake invited Blain back to shadow the food prep team in the new Aquarium Café at the Women’s and Children’s Pavilion. Blain is an asset wherever he goes and easily impresses others. Back at the Center, Charles assists in a variety of jobs and says, “I knew I wanted to volunteer here because there is so much to learn.”

The Center’s most seasoned volunteer, Virginia (“Ginny”) Lieneck (right), has been with the Center for two and a half years. “I went to the [HUMC] Volunteer Office and said I was interested in a challenging position, and if possible, one that dealt with cancer.” Ginny was assigned to the Center, where she says, “I always learn something new, especially about what products to use and about the environment. I’m always challenged by the work and learn a lot.” Ginny enjoys working in the Center offices and sees them as a model of sustainable, green building, complete with cork floors, low-VOC paints and formaldehyde-free furniture.

Lieneck also volunteers with the American Cancer Society as a Legislative Ambassador. She enjoys meeting with Congresspeople and senators to request funding for the National Institutes of Health, specifically the National Cancer Institute. She is also a member of the Bloomfield Mandolin Orchestra and an adventurous world traveler.

The varied interests and expertise of our volunteers are complimented by another experienced Center volunteer, Janice Meister (left). After retiring from full-time employment as a registered nurse, Janice wanted to volunteer for an organization whose mission was related to healthcare. She hoped to utilize the knowledge acquired from years working in acute healthcare hospitals and make a contribution that would be consistent with helping others.

Janice first learned of the Center when Deirdre Imus was a speaker at the Upper Saddle River Women’s Club luncheon in June 2006. “The presentation was impressive and meaningful. The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology® was just what I was looking for,” says Janice. It has been 16 months since she began volunteering, and she says, “I am as impressed each day that I spend at the Center as I was the day I heard Mrs. Imus speak. It’s fulfilling to contribute to an organization as dedicated as this.”

To honor the volunteers, the Center hosted a luncheon with Mrs. Imus in November. The expertise, enthusiasm and dedication that Charles, Ginny and Janice bring to the Center enrich and facilitate the Center’s mission and everyday work. We all are truly grateful for their contributions, this holiday season and throughout the year.

close (X)