Reflecting on 50 Years of Volunteering

Betty Robinson has been volunteering with the CF Foundation for more than 50 years. In celebration of her 100th birthday, we sat down with Betty to ask her about some of her favorite memories.

June 7, 2024 | 5 min read
Betty Robinson smiling while wearing a sash that reads "100 fabulous years."
Betty Robinson
Betty holding roses and standing between two Eastern Oklahoma chapter directors

Betty Robinson has been a dedicated volunteer for over 50 years, steadfast in her commitment to help find a cure for all people with CF. Her volunteer journey began in 1970 when her son became friends with a child in his class. This child, Chris Boyd, had cystic fibrosis. Chris’s father encouraged Betty to get involved with the CF Foundation — even joining their local chapter board — and Betty dove right in. Betty and her husband got involved in every part of the CF Foundation’s mission and even saved money to make generous personal donations. 

Chris’s passing at the age of 35 only solidified her commitment. Betty’s bond with Chris’s family has remained strong over the years, recently highlighted by a visit from his younger brother for a weekend filled with shared memories. Betty’s contributions to the cystic fibrosis community have been immeasurable. She continues to be a dedicated board member at the Eastern Oklahoma Chapter in Tulsa, an event volunteer, and a mentor — always ready to share her infectious energy and sense of humor.

To honor her 100th birthday this June, Betty was invited to reflect on 50 years of volunteering:

TRANSCRIPT

Hi, Betty Robinson. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. When did you — and why did you — first start volunteering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation?

I started probably in 1970. We moved here in 1966 and met this boy whose name was Chris Boyd. He had cystic fibrosis and was in my son’s third grade class. They became friends, we became friends with them and their parents — he and his parents and his entire family. That’s how I began. 

We had known a boy and a girl who had cystic fibrosis in Fort Worth and their father worked with my husband at Standard Oil of Indiana. And that was my first encounter with cystic fibrosis. They lost both of those children and had one other, and she still keeps in contact with me today. 

Betty, what is one of your favorite memories from your 50+ years of volunteering? 

Oh, mercy’s sake. It is hard to ever, ever pick one memory because these are memories — all of them. [Points to photos from volunteering with the CF Foundation.] This is Leslie Armor. And this is another little girl in Oklahoma City that I accompanied – or she accompanied me – at the golf tournament. And her little pigtails just flew in the breeze when we went down the ramp. And she just giggled, she was so happy. These are the two people that got me involved, totally involved. This is my husband speaking with a friend. She gave several parties for us at Cystic Fibrosis [Foundation]. This is one of the leaders, directors of Cystic [Fibrosis Foundation].  This is another one, years ago, Pauletta Reed and her husband. My husband and Jean Boyd, this is the mother of the child that got us started. This is Lo Detrich when she was very tiny. This is when she got a little bit bigger and is on our favorite family hobby horse. 

And so, I have so many memories of so many of our parties and the great things that we tried to do for cystic fibrosis. And many volunteers. And then my husband and I were presented with the Henry Zarrow Award which we were very, very proud of, and I could not believe we had got it that night. I kept saying “No, no, no” but it was yes, yes, yes. 

Well, let me ask you this, Betty. What was it like to watch the advancements in cystic fibrosis — the science and the care — over the years? Is there one moment that stands out in your memory? 

One of the biggest ones was of course the — I don’t even remember what it was. Kalydeco®? That’s the most recent one. And the other one was one where they found the gene, I think. And we practically cried all the time, it was such a great, great memory. I can remember Terry Detrich and I cried together because it was a great breakthrough.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with the CF Foundation?

I believe it’s the most fulfilling one thing that I have done, other than rear children. And it made me feel that I had left a trail, I’m leaving a trail at my almost 100 years. And I feel that my time has been spent in the right way. 

Is there anything you’d like to say to the entire CF community?

Thank you, Tulsa, for being so generous and so loving and so accepting to me when I ask each year — two or three times — would you like to give something for an event that is coming up and we need your support? 

Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for your time today, and we appreciate all you’ve done for cystic fibrosis over the many, many years.

It’s been my choice and my delight. 

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Betty Robinson smiling while wearing a sash that reads "100 fabulous years."

Betty Robinson is a dedicated CF Foundation volunteer with over 50 years of service. Her journey began in 1970 when her son befriended a child with CF. Encouraged by the child’s father, Betty got involved with the CF Foundation in Tulsa, Okla. Betty's meaningful contributions — including serving on her chapter board, volunteering at events, and mentoring others — all highlight her immeasurable impact on the CF community.

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