For more than 30 years, Candy Miller, CMA (AAMA), has spent her entire vacation time volunteering for different organizations in Oregon.

“I don’t have the finances to help people out, so my time is how I help. We are all put on this earth for a reason. Mine is to help others have a good existence,” says Miller.

Closest to her heart is her involvement with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). For over 30 years, Miller has volunteered at an MDA Summer Camp, where she leads arts and crafts for campers. She also taps into her medical assisting skills to help clinical staff with bandage needs and health screenings for camp counselors, which include taking blood pressures and temperatures and checking for lice.

During her first few years volunteering with the MDA, Miller took part in telethons. “I always loved watching the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. I’d stay up at night without my mom knowing,” says Miller. “One year, our local chapter decided to volunteer at the MDA telethon, and I couldn’t wait to participate. I kept going for a few years. Then I was invited to be on the steering committee for MDA’s south-central district.”

In May 2019, the MDA honored Miller with its first-ever Bryan Campbell Momentum Award, which recognizes a volunteer for helping kids and adults grow stronger and live longer. “Bryan died at just 29 from muscular dystrophy,” says Miller. “He was a true inspiration, and to receive an award that is dedicated to him is so special.”

She also gives her time to the Cascade Health Foundation’s Festival of Trees, a six-day-long event that takes place the week of Thanksgiving.

“I’ve been going for 26 years,” says Miller. “The event raises money for different things like prescription drug assistance. But for the last few years we have used the money to build and operate the Pete Moore Hospice House, a beautiful 14-bed inpatient facility that offers people in need access to quality end-of-life or respite care.”

She also helps patients in need when she spends time at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic in Oregon. Since 2001, Miller has donated her medical assisting skills to the clinic. She performs clinical duties, such as rooming patients, taking vitals, and assisting physicians as needed. Additionally, she trains new volunteer medical assistants. During her 40-year career as a medical assistant, Miller has mainly worked in gynecology, and, for the last 10 years, she has been in a predominantly administrative role. However, being involved with Volunteers in Medicine allows her opportunities to work in the back office.

“The best part of this clinic is that we get to offer quality care to patients who need it, and I get to use my clinical skills and really connect with patients—my favorite part of being a medical assistant,” says Miller.

Somehow, she still finds time to serve on the steering committee for Eugene-Springfield Relay for Life and help with an annual fundraising golf tournament for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which raises donations for children in need at local hospitals.

“I’m so proud to be a medical assistant; it’s my life’s work,” says Miller. And when it comes to volunteering, Miller is all in. “Helping others makes my heart happy, and that’s worth making time for.”