Recent visitors to Roswell Park will notice a big difference. The halls are much less populated than normal, the cafeteria is no longer bustling and music is noticeably absent from the lobby, where the victory bell hangs silently. It is evident that Roswell Park is not only a campus or a structure, but a feeling: one that each member of our community consciously brings to the building each day. Aquell Douglas, a member of the Clinical Nutrition team, brings his all each day to Roswell Park.
On a Tuesday 13 years ago, Aquell dropped off a patient for an appointment, and wandered up to the cafeteria to inquire about employment opportunities. That Friday, Aquell worked his first shift in the cafeteria. Over the years, he has worked as a cashier, in the deli, on the short-order line, in the pizza station and as a sous chef. He reminds himself daily “If you don’t care, you shouldn’t be in healthcare,” a motto that inspires him to care for patients, caregivers and employees alike.
As donations of food have poured in from all corners of the community, Aquell found a way he could help: he jumped in to distribute meals to the rest of the staff. He’s been humbled by the outpouring of care from the rest of Western New York: “The fact that they’re offering” is impressive, he says, adding “If I need to stay, I’ll stay to accommodate the nurses and doctors, because they’re helping.” He feels it is one small thing he can do in the fight against COVID-19.
Outside of his time as a fixture in the cafeteria, Aquell lends his cooking skills to his daughters’ schools. His daughters are involved in numerous extracurricular activities. His 17-year-old daughter is a senior, student council president, a member of National Honor Society and participates in a number of athletic activities, including track. His younger daughter, 7, is in the second grade and is a dancer. He’s recently taken on the task of becoming their teacher, a task he describes as “sometimes overwhelming, but when they get it right, it’s worth it.” Aquell also is deeply involved with his church, where he helps out with donations. The church offers a food pantry, a clothing pantry and job-seeking help to members of the community in need.
The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. To read the latest information on Roswell Park’s response and find additional resources, visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.Learn More