Volunteer Services

Among the more than 450 active volunteers at Roswell Park is a dedicated mother-daughter duo who have made a special impact on patients.
Laughter, treats, and astounding feats of magic are in store when Roswell Park volunteer Bruce Baum rolls in.

For the past three years, Barb Murak has been an unofficial messenger for Roswell Park patients who are recovering from a blood or marrow transplant (BMT). Pulling a handcart filled with art supplies, from time to time the Artist-in-Residence stops by an inpatient room to deliver a surprise. “Knock, knock!” she calls out. “You’ve got mail!”

“I am very blessed. Regardless of what happened, God helped me to get through all of this. And I believe in my heart that God will not give you anything that you cannot handle. He gave me Jim. Jim got me through every single day of this past year.”

If you own a dog, you understand the joys of canine companionship. But did you know that your four-legged friend could hold the power to heal? Research shows that pet therapy dogs help cancer patients cope with treatment, manage side effects and improve quality of life.
For nearly four years, a statue bearing the likeness of a beloved Roswell Park volunteer has welcomed visitors to our Kaminski Park and Gardens, located outside the main hospital. Monty, Roswell Park’s first-ever therapy dog, serves as a reminder of the compassionate power of animals, now memorialized in the form of a custom statue.

One day Barb Murak stopped by the waiting room of the Urology Clinic at Roswell Park and noticed several guys flipping idly through Field & Stream magazine, heads down, as they waited for their appointments. She had an idea.

Seven-year-old Lucas Leitzan is hanging out in his Roswell Park hospital room with his parents, Melissa and Mark, when an unexpected visitor arrives.

Although Porsche never went to medical school, she sure knows how to make cancer patients and their families feel better. Porsche, a 6-year-old Goldendoodle, is a new face at Roswell Park. Roswell’s furry friend visits a few times a month as part of the Institute’s Pet Therapy Program, made possible in part by generous donations. During her visits, Porsche trots around the hospital, calmly visiting anyone in need of a pick-me-up, providing unconditional love and a wag of her tail.

Musicians Craig Hodnett, Daniel McCue and Peter Hassett have been volunteering at Roswell Park for more than six years! You can find The Buffalo Guys in the Roswell Park lobby every Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. playing some of their favorite songs and cracking jokes.
Every month, we'll be hearing from a Roswell Park staff member who manages one of the quality-of-life programs for our patients. This month Chris Wesley, Volunteer Services Administrator, talks about the Arts in Healthcare program.
We are so grateful to have many wonderful volunteers that make a profound impact on our patients and visitors. Check out these interesting facts about this diverse group!