Siteman Cancer Center in need of more volunteers at it’s six satellite locations

Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 9:22 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2023 at 5:42 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Siteman Cancer Center is in need of more volunteers across all six of it’s satellite locations.

Peter Aiello is a stage four colon cancer patient. Aiello has been coming to Siteman for treatment for the last seven years.

“Without them it would be a little more chaotic around here than it is so they make everything run smoothly,” Aiello says.

To Aiello, whether it’s getting a blanket or bringing him a snack or drink, the volunteers make a monumental difference.

“Just makes it so much easier for you to get through your day,” Aiello says. “Just a how was your weekend. That talking a little bit just gets your mind off of what’s going on and have that human inner contact with them and interacting with them. It just makes things a little bit easier for your day.”

Siteman currently has about 110 volunteers.

Danielle McTigue is one of them, volunteering on and off for years.

“It’s really just a fulfilling thing to be able to have that unknowing impact on somebody’s life,” McTigue says. “To make it maybe 10 times brighter just by that one interaction you do in a four hour shift once a week.”

However, the need is much greater.

There are spots for 23 more volunteers and 26 more pet therapy volunteers.

Volunteers work with the patients and nursing staff, which can be in the waiting room or in the radiation and oncology areas.

“A lot of the time our conversations don’t even go anywhere near the medical side of things,” McTigue says. “It’s always more about personal life and things that really get their mind off of the chemo taking place and i think that’s what they really enjoy about their conversations with volunteers is that they’re treated like normal people.”

The COVID-19 pandemic completely changed the demographic of volunteers at Siteman.

Patient services manager Tate Rondot says before the pandemic, a majority of the volunteers were adults.

Since the pandemic Rondot says they have either gone back to work, don’t want to be in a hospital, or are taking care of their own family members.

Now a majority of the volunteers at Siteman are college students.

Rondot says for just four hours a week, you can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

“Each one of our patients is a family member to somebody and it’s scary,” Rondot says. “People are nervous. There’s so many other emotions going on so our volunteers, regardless of who they are, they’re giving these patients a little bit of normalcy and a little bit of friendliness and a little bit of comfort when there’s maybe not any comfort at all.”

You have to be 18-years-old to volunteer.

For those interested in volunteering, they can fill out an application form here.