College student Ashley Cobb spent a summer volunteering at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a member of the Summer Volunteer Program.
Cobb had a variety of different positions as a Summer Volunteer. During a typical shift, she collected used wagons, greeted families and distributed toys in inpatient rooms.
Cobb said she wanted to volunteer at St. Jude to gain experience in a pediatric hospital. She is interested in becoming a pediatric oncology nurse and thought that she could gain a sense of what it would be like.
Cobb mentioned the positive impact volunteering at St. Jude had on her life. “The patients here have taught me that no matter how rough of a time you’re going through, there’s always a reason to smile and spread happiness to others,” she said. “My time here made me look at life in a totally different way and to never take anything for granted.
“The benefits of being a St. Jude volunteer,” Cobb added, “are that you get to meet a lot of different people from all over the world, which is something you don’t get to do just anywhere. You get to have time to connect with some of the kids during events in the Imagine Room or with the Happy Cart, which is a really neat experience. You also get the chance to make someone’s day better with a smile or a simple hello.”
Cobb said she was nervous about how she would handle being around children who are dealing with catastrophic illnesses, but actually found joy in the children’s strength and ability to have fun despite their circumstances.
Cobb encourages anyone who is thinking about volunteering at St. Jude to apply. “It is such an amazing experience that changed my viewpoints on so many different things,” she said. “The kids there are unlike any others you’ll ever meet. The people who work at St. Jude are also fantastic. Every St. Jude employee I came across was as nice as could be and made me feel welcome.”
Cobb is a nursing student at Samford University and says she hopes to return to St. Jude in the future as a pediatric oncology nurse.