Some of my closest friends today are people I had the good fortune of meeting through volunteering,” Martz says.

Sandy Martz is one of the GCRC's dedicated volunteers and this year's Gala vice-chair.

There would be no Gala without guests, and no guests without invitations. Ever wonder how all the pieces get put together? Just ask Sandy Martz, the vice-chair of this year’s event and of the last two galas.

As Gala vice-chair, Martz does a lot to make sure the Goodman Gala happens—starting with those invitations. In early April, a team of volunteers were hard at work stuffing envelopes and writing notes, ensuring they added a personal touch to as many of the 2,300 invitations sent as possible. The invitations filled a more than a dozen boxes lined up on tables in a conference room in McGill’s Martlet House, alphabetized and ready for the mailbox.

The entire process usually takes days. But this year, Martz—and an energetic and enthusiastic team of volunteers—managed to fill all the envelopes by the end of the first day.

Martz has been a volunteer for 40 years, in many capacities and for a variety of causes. She’s given her time to Selwyn House, St. Georges, Federation CJA, Ometz, the C.U.R.E. Foundation, CCAC, B.C.T. (Beautiful City Theatre) and Mackay Centre, joining the Goodman Gala team in earnest about seven years ago.

Since retiring from her 34-year career as a physiotherapist at the Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, Martz has had even more time to spend in conference rooms and meetings, planning events like the Gala.

Her work with the Goodman Gala means a lot to her. “My father died of cancer at the very young age of 42 when I was a student at McGill.  I always knew that if I ever had the time or opportunity I would step up to the plate,” she said. “This fell very easily in that category.”

Martz and Rosalind Goodman met through Federation CJA about ten years ago and became “very fast friends,” Martz said.
“She knew that she wanted to make a major difference while she could, and asked me if I would come on board with the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, both with the Gala and outreach. I couldn’t say no, and my involvement has been an extraordinary privilege."

There are innumerable benefits to volunteering, Martz noted. “You meet a lot of wonderful people. Some of my closest friends today are people I had the good fortune of meeting through volunteering,” she said, “and the lessons I learned from Rosalind Goodman will remain with me always."
“She was the definition of inspiration. She had endless energy, enthusiasm, and vision. She was never satisfied with the status quo, there was always more to do.” 

The spirit of giving back runs throughout the entire Goodman Gala team – even when giving back means spending an entire day stuffing envelopes. (“It’s most assuredly a team effort,” Martz said.) That spirit has always started with the Gala leadership; Martz is no exception. While she didn’t grow up in a privileged household, Martz is grateful for her life, volunteerism being an integral and defining part of it. 

“I am truly humbled to be able to give back. I also feel it’s important to be a role model for my children, and now for my grandchildren." Martz said. "My volunteer life has been rewarding and fulfilling in so many dimensions, and I'm looking forward to many more years of giving back."

Learn more about the Goodman Cancer Research Gala