Meet The James' Volunteers: Jacob Christofi
From drinks and snacks to comfort and conversation, volunteers at The James provide the little things that make up a big part of comprehensive cancer care.
Get to know one of the nearly 500 volunteers who give their time and effort at The James, serving as partners for patients to help meet the everyday needs that become challenges during treatment.
Name: Jacob Christofi
Where I volunteer: 11th floor of The James; University Hospital
What I do: I help restock the cabinets inside and outside the patient rooms.
Why I chose The James: I can gain experience working in a medical setting, and hopefully use it to become a better doctor one day.
How I’ve made a difference in our patients’ lives: Some of the patients in the ICU are very tired, and many have been there for a while, so it's nice to say “hi” to some of them or compliment a hat or something that a family member gave them. They always smile back and thank me because, even if they haven't been in the ICU for very long, they have probably been under a lot of stress, and I think getting a compliment helps them feel a little bit better. The staff is also happy to see me because I help them catch up on stocking so that they’re freed up to do reports or check in on patients.
How our patients have made a difference in my life: Over Christmas I went to the Santa Rounds event—volunteers are put into groups, and we make rounds in the inpatient centers of the hospital and deliver gifts. Most of the people in the inpatient centers seemed kind of down since they had to spend Christmas in the hospital, but they were happy to see us and chat for a minute. The mother of one patient broke down crying because she was so grateful that we had come out to help cheer her son up when he was having such a rough time. The experience showed how such a simple gesture can mean so much to someone when they really need it.
Why I recommend volunteering at The James: There are always offers for me to help out more if I have more free time, and the staff that I interact with is always extremely helpful and happy to answer questions about my role. The staff is also very appreciative of my time, and is happy to accommodate any schedule changes that need to be made so that I can do well in school while still having time to volunteer.