Volunteer Spotlight: Regina Martinez

September 21, 2018

We all want to enjoy our retirement years, replacing work with fun and relaxing activities, like playing tennis, reading, yoga, traveling, seeing grandchildren and great grandchildren. Regina Martinez has done all of those things since she retired from her career as a hospice and home health nurse.

But Regina also felt that there was a need for people to learn and talk about cancer. She had seen how cancer affects lives during her career, and she saw how cancer care saves lives when her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at 44 (and is still living well at 76). So when she was invited to serve on the national board of the American Cancer Society, she accepted. Then she served on the Great West Division board, and she has been a volunteer and advocate for fighting cancer and improving the lives of cancer patients and their families ever since.New Mexico Ambassador Regina Martinez

Some of the unique roles Regina has taken on include travel to Spanish-speaking countries to talk about cancer issues with publications written in Spanish (after working with the American Cancer Society to hire a translator for their publications). She continues to be active in advocating for diversity and outreach to minority communities and educating health providers about the importance of recognizing cultural differences in their services. That work on diversity led her to encourage the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN) and the AARP to work together on inclusion and diversity as well as access to care and quality of life issues. She also is a Eucharistic minister for her church and provides communion every Monday to parishioners who are hospitalized or home-bound.

Regina's current passion is palliative care, which she notes is not just hospice. She describes it as quality care for all, for all diseases, with a team of caregivers for the patients and family.  And, she says, "That's how we're going to go forward."

But back to retirement...Regina does take part in all the activities listed at the beginning of this article. She feels that good life includes fun and purpose. As a military wife, she encouraged the younger wives to be sure to do "one thing a week for yourself," and she still recommends it. She says, "That's just me." Given Regina's many achievements and generous life, we should all take those things to heart.

Regina Martinez has belonged to, volunteered for, and led many activities for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, National and Great West Division boards of the American Cancer Society, the Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup for the ACS CAN Western Region, ACS Tobacco Control Committee, New Mexicans Concerned About Tobacco, STOMP (Stop Tobacco On My People), and AARP.