Our volunteers have a profound effect on everyone, from patients to employees! They are trusted by the staff at RPCI and have the innate ability to work with anyone while providing exceptional care with a smile. Volunteers make patients feel happy they chose RPCI as their care provider and make employees feel proud to be a part of the team.
Our Team Has the Magic Touch
Kara Weaver, Executive Director, Patient Family Experience, found herself moved by the actions of RPCI's volunteers and staff on the morning of January 10th. A young patient, limited to the use of a wheelchair, had come to RPCI's Head & Neck Clinic for the first time with his entire family. While waiting in registration, the patient's sister suffered a seizure. She was brought to the clinic in an attempt to stabilize her, and was then transferred to Buffalo General Hospital (BGH).
Two volunteers, Mike and Suzanne Ameroso (right), immediately came to the aid of the family. As the patient's mother tearfully left to be with her daughter at BGH, the Amerosos assisted the patient with registration and got him up to the clinic for evaluation. His mother was assured by the volunteers and those in Patient Access that her child would be in good hands at RPCI.
Upon arrival, the patient was placed into a clinic room where he was supported by Mildred Kelly from Patient Navigation. Mildred was also present for the patient's appointment with Wesley Hicks Jr., MD, FACS. The patient's family was extremely grateful for the excellent care provided by RPCI's staff and volunteers.
“I am very proud of what occurred this morning,” Kara said. “It was great to see a multi-disciplinary team at work for one purpose. This makes me very proud to be a part of Roswell. Thank you.”
Errand/Escort Volunteers & Pet Therapy Program
Errand/Escort volunteers play an important role in helping RPCI run smoothly. These volunteers come to the hospital on the same day each week and assist with various tasks. Their level of commitment to teamwork helps them perform each job efficiently and adequately. Our Errand/Escort volunteers are prompt and professional, but also provide an uplifting atmosphere as their laughter can sometimes be heard throughout the atrium! Additionally, these individuals often forge friendships with patients and co-workers. Joanne Gordon has experience as both an Errand/Escort Volunteer and a Pet Therapy Assistant. She says:
Volunteering as an Errand/Escort at Roswell has been a very rewarding experience. The group I work with is the best. We work well together, taking our completion of requested errands and tasks seriously, but at the same time enjoying some laughs. An extra duty of an Errand/Escort is being an assistant in the Dog Therapy Program. I am fortunate enough to be one of those assistants. Teva, a yellow lab, with owner Jan and a golden retriever, Nikko, with owner Janice are two of the dogs and owners with whom I have had the pleasure of working.
Teva and Jan were first. We went to pediatrics. Jan had been doing this for some time and was very experienced; I was not sure how it would go. We encountered a young boy who seemed rather shy and reluctant to see the dog. Jan spent a few minutes talking to him while Teva waited patiently; and before I knew it, this young boy was smiling and hugging the dog. I was impressed by how a few words and a dog could do so much for a young patient. Everywhere we went that day, Teva seemed to bring smiles to people’s faces.
Nikko and Janice are new to the program. Nikko is a four-year old golden who loves to have his belly rubbed and he too brings a smile to the face of everyone he meets.
The Therapy Dog Program is a wonderful thing. So many patients and/or their family members own dogs and they all seem to want to tell us about their dogs. I believe this provides a wonderful distraction while they may be waiting for some treatment or waiting for a family member who may be in surgery or in for tests. I like dogs a lot, but I have two cats and as everyone knows, you don’t train cats, they train you.
Providing a Hospitable Home Environment
RPCI's Hospitality Room stands to do just that – provide a hospitable home environment for patients and their families. It is equipped with coffee, refreshments, books, puzzles, and a television set. The friendly conversation provided by Joe Galley (right) and the 23 other Hospitality Room volunteers can be a friendly distraction from the harrowing reality of what our patients may be facing.
Joe is just one of the pleasant and jovial volunteers you will find in our Hospitality Room. He greets everyone who walks in with a kind smile and his always identifiable laugh! The appreciation of patients like Tom, who left Joe the note below, leaves a lasting impression on us.
Thank you . . .
Please accept my sincere thank you. Thank you for providing a positive environment and appropriate treatment for a nasty disease that affects all of our families and many of us personally. The many pleasant smiles, kind gestures, and thoughtful words lighten the burden of the many necessary trips to Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Again, THANK YOU!
We strive to make our Hospitality Room into one of the few physical spaces at our facility where patients can escape, and our volunteers who make that possible.
Community Based Outreach
Life expectancy for those diagnosed with cancer has improved in recent years, however not everyone in WNY has benefitted. African-Americans and Hispanics, for example, are more often diagnosed with cancer in the later stages when a cure is less likely.
The Office of Cancer Health Disparities Research (OCHDR) at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is dedicated to research that advances the understanding of these disparities, and to developing and offering integrated community based services and educational programs tailored to meet the needs of these populations. We have a considerable amount of volunteers who assist the OCHDR with outreach into the community. Three of the most successful components are:
- Buffalo/Niagara Witness Project
- Esperanza y Vida (EV)
- Minorities Allied for the Need to Understand Prostate Cancer (MAN UP)
From all of us at RPCI to all of our volunteers: we thank YOU!