Claude Walker - Why I Give
Claude’s wife, Sharon, who died in 2005, inspired people throughout Tallahassee as an active volunteer and advocate for women with breast cancer. Along with friends, family members and supporters, Claude has raised
$530,000 to support the Walker Breast Center at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH). Claude, and his mother Maye, a breast cancer survivor, are the honorary chairs for Golden Gala XXXVII benefiting the Walker Breast Center.
How did the Walker Breast Center become a reality?
We wanted to do something to honor Sharon, so we started a fund at the TMH Foundation. It gave me something to do. I was driven to raise money, and I would go out and talk to as many people as I could. It was part of my grieving process and healing. We’ve carried it on now all these years because we know the need is great.
How have you seen cancer treatment at TMH improve over the past 14 years?
When Sharon was sick, TMH did not have a dedicated cancer treatment center. We had two young boys, and it was exhausting driving to Tampa for treatment. Now, people in our region have a place to receive treatment in Tallahassee. We have a phenomenal radiology/oncology team and the best equipment available right here at the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center.
What has it been like to work through the TMH Foundation?
They’ve really given me a voice in the process. I’ve met a lot of people who are of the same mind as I am and want to raise money to help move the hospital forward. Healthcare is one of our biggest issues right now, and I think it always will be, so how we deal with it as a community is important.
What advice do you have for others who want to make a difference?
You’ve got to find out what motivates you. What has had an impact in your life? Is it heart disease? Is it diabetes? I think once people are impacted by something, they wake up and say, ‘This is very important, and I want to help other people.’ Figure out what your passion is and then find a way to help.