OCONTO, WI (WFRV) – Nobody would have blamed Dee Donlevy if, after chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer, she decided to go on a long vacation.

Instead, Donlevy is giving back to the very cancer treatment center where she once was a patient.

“I survived cancer, and I know God wasn’t done with me yet, and I had to give back,” Dee told Local 5 News while fighting back tears.

She hates to show emotion or cry because she truly believes her survival story is a positive one.

Every week she assembles goodie bags and activity packets for patients who are going through what she survived. She often hand delivers them and speaks one on one with the patients.

“When you’re out there and going through your treatment, it’s a very heavy thing,” Donlevy explained. “These activities take your mind off of it, even for a minute. It’s wonderful!”

Dee’s organizational skills were invaluable to bringing forth the artistic vision of the Bellin Expressive Arts in Medicine Program or BEAM, which uses art and music to bring comfort to patients and their families.

“Dee has added so much. She has positive enthusiasm. She has empathy for the patients because she was one, and she survived,” said BEAM Coordinator Amy Eliason. “If she sees a need, if we’re low on buttons, she’ll come in with more buttons. She reaches out to the community and people help.”

Dee says she was just paying it forward.

“While I was here, a wonderful volunteer came up to me, and he sat down by me,” Donlevy recalled. “He said I know you’re scared. He took my hand and said you’re going to make it.”

The results speak for themselves.

BEAM volunteers make hundreds of versions of each kit. BEAM is now distributing them to Oconto, Marinette, and Green Bay Oncology. As well as Altrusa House, the In-Patient Rehab Center, and Bellin Hospital, including the NICU.

“We had mistle toes at Christmas for all ages,” Eliason recalled. “So the work Dee does here is spread throughout Wisconsin.”

The work of charity extends beyond the confines of a cancer treatment room and back to Donlevy’s hometown of Oconto. There, she helped her sister double collection points for the Oconto Toys for Tots program.

It resulted in a record year for the charity with more than 5,000 toys.

Again, Donlevy doesn’t play up too much about what she did.

“I had a calling campaign to different cities and businesses to say this is what we’re doing. Would you be willing to help,” Donlevy explained.

It didn’t stop there.

The sisters created the Baking Grannies group, which through bake sales, raised another two thousand dollars to buy even more toys! They have their sights on other charities for next year, including the Oconto Humane Society and the fire department, which needs some breathing masks.

“Anyone can tell you what a special angel she is,” Anderson wrote in her nomination letter to Local 5 News about her dear sister, one of 12 children in the family.

“I ended up having a heart attack,” Mary acknowledged. “it’s disabled me. She’s been making meals, coming over to check on me, cleaning my house, and taking me to appointments. Anything she could do to make life easier for me.”

Dee said she follows a simple motto:

“I cannot do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good that I can do. That’s what I live by.”

An uplifting thought from a remarkable woman who never stops giving.