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Volunteer Spotlight:Joanne Riddett


Joanne riddett headshot bw

Every day we marvel at the good work of countless volunteers here at To Life! We have committed space in each newsletter so we can share the backstory of some of them. Joanne Riddet has served on our "A Toast To Life!" committee since 2010 and has co-chaired since 2012 and we think you should get to know her. 


In this issue we wanted to recognize volunteer Joanne Riddett who has been part of the landscape of To Life! for several years. Joanne first learned about breast cancer many years ago when her grandmother dealt with the disease. This always affected Joanne’s perspective on the disease and the need to provide care for survivors and families. Several years ago, friendship with Gail Gordon, another long-time supporter of To Life! influenced her to get involved. Joanne will often comment that the statement “You’ve got cancer” is a scary thing to contemplate and that To Life! offers solutions and suggestions for patients and survivors, as well as answers to the many unpredictable questions that arise. Starting out as a math teacher, Joanne’s relocation to the Capital Region turned out to be a turning point in her career. She became involved in IT work with the State of New York and served for over 30 years in various computer and systems technology positions. She officially retired from the NYS Thruway Authority in 2009. As a To Life! volunteer, Joanne has been focused on one of our annual events; the spring gala – now known as “A Toast To Life!” She has been on the event committee since 2010 and has co-chaired since 2012. Joanne would cast herself as a behind-the-scenes leader. She thinks that her best efforts have to do with connecting donors with the overall mission of the event and of To Life!. The “Toast”, held annually on the first Tuesday in May, is a fundraiser, but really a community event. It is is made up of many parts including over a dozen culinary sponsors comprising the dine-around portion of the event and over two hundred silent auction, wine pull and raffle donors. While never the loudest voice in the room, Joanne embodies the importance of connecting the community with the cause. The hope to have each donor, sponsor, restaurateur understand that their contributions have significance to the services of To Life! is what lies behind all of the committee activities. To the same end, each attendee is welcomed as an important part of the To Life! mission, whether they are long-term supporters or just friends of friends attending for the first time. Every person and every motivation is connected. Whether leading a committee, helping with behind the scenes details or offering support to breast cancer survivor, Joanne is an important part of the fabric of To Life!