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If you’re at The Ghosh Center on Wednesday mornings, you can count on a smile from Bobbie Hagen, volunteer extraordinaire. She’s a steady presence, who brightens our lives as she welcomes patients and helps them settle in. If you look closely at the photo, you can see a double rainbow behind the beaming image of Bobbie and her late husband, Buzz.
We recently chatted with Bobbie about her role.
I greet people as they come in for chemo and help take care of their general needs. This includes getting them blankets and setting up heating pads to warm their arms. I provide them with water and snacks. And coffee! I know just how some of the patients like their coffee. And, I’m always happy to sit and visit if people feel up to it.
I spent time here when my husband, Buzz, was a patient. I could see how busy the nurses were, trying to take care of everyone’s needs while making sure chemo was set up properly. When I began volunteering, it was with the goal of lightening their load, taking care of the little things so they could concentrate on the big things. My hope is to make everyone’s day better, whether they’re a team member or a person in treatment.
We were living in California and driving two-and-a-half hours each way for his treatment. When the treatment proved ineffective, the next step was chemotherapy. Our daughter Kelly, who lived here, had heard of Dr. Ghosh and encouraged us to come here. It was a good decision.
Many years ago, I helped deliver mail in a hospital, and I’ve volunteered with special needs kids when my children were growing up. But this is my biggest volunteer experience and most rewarding. I love the people here and have become attached to them.
When you’re here week after week, you really get to know people. Some of the women and I have fun comparing nail polish and talking about clothes and jewelry. I have a pair of Frida Kahlo earrings that one of them was admiring, and it turned out she couldn’t order a pair like them. Then I remembered I had a second pair, which I was able to give to her. That created a bond. With other patients, we talk about grandchildren and share family photos. I’ve formed real friendships here, and I love all the staff.