Britni Coffey joined the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital family in 2011 when her son was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma. Coffey’s son was treated at St. Jude and a St. Jude Affiliate clinic near their hometown. After 42 weeks of chemotherapy and 24 radiation treatments, he is cancer free.
Coffey received a phone call one day asking if she would be interested in working with the Patient Family-Centered Care (PFCC) program. She viewed this as a wonderful opportunity to give back to the place that had done so much for her family.
“Not only was I able to give back to St. Jude, but I was also given the chance to help other families as they were embarking on the most difficult journey of their lives. Our family was put on this path for a reason, and if our story can help just one person as they go through this fight, then I have to try,” Coffey said.
She began volunteering as a parent mentor and is an active member of the E-Council. Through these positions, Coffey offers ideas and suggestions from her experiences to help support parents and families.
Coffey cites many benefits to volunteering in this capacity.
“Being able to talk to the families and understand their feelings and thoughts has been something they have really expressed gratitude for,” she said. “I saw this ability to make a difference and support someone I could relate to. I feel completely blessed by the connections made.”
Volunteering as a parent mentor, an E-Council member, or in another volunteer position is a unique experience for anyone who has walked through the patient family life. PFCC aims to be responsive to the needs and choices of each family. Coffey says being part of a patient family and using that journey to support other families has made an impact on her life.
“I owe everything to St. Jude,” she said. “I still have my son, when for a while, I didn’t think I would have that opportunity. Volunteering at St. Jude has allowed me to give back and do what I could to help others going through those same emotions and fears of uncertainty. It has allowed something beautiful to come from such a scary time in our lives.”
Coffey enjoys being able to volunteer at St. Jude and spends her free time with her husband and their family. She says her son has been cancer-free for more than six years and is doing great.