Meet The James' Volunteers: Suzanne Kaszar
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: Suzanne Kaszar
Where I volunteer: Fifth floor of The James
What I do: I get food, blankets and magazines, comfort patients, relay messages to staff, stock the nutrition room and do whatever I can to make the patients and their families more comfortable. I also try to do whatever I can to help the staff and train new volunteers. I serve on the Patient Services Committee—and I’m still a patient at The James.
Why I chose The James: I’ve always said that the doctors at The James saved my life and the nurses, PCAs, clerical staff and housekeeping staff saved my soul. The kindness and professionalism shown to me as a patient and volunteer is never-ending.
How I’ve made a difference in our patients’ lives: As a survivor of two bone marrow transplants and a shoulder replacement, I can relate to the struggles they face. I remember the things, large and small, that got me though eight years of treatment physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. I can assure them that, although being diagnosed is daunting, it’s not impossible to navigate.
How our patients have made a difference in my life: The patients and their families remind me daily of their determination to beat the disease. Their grace is amazing—it makes my heart melt when a patient asks for me specifically or thanks me for my service. Someone told me last week that he appreciated my “kind eyes” and how comforting it was to him. Countless others have told me how, despite its large size, they love the personal touch they receive at The James.
Why I recommend volunteering at The James: Every single time I volunteer, I’m thanked profusely by the staff and patients for my time. It’s easy to help people who help give purpose to my life and gratifying to know I’ve made someone’s day a little better.