Mary Driscoll has been a volunteer at St. Jude for the past seven years. She began assisting with clerical duties in several different departments in 2012 before adding a Helping Hands shift in 2013. Driscoll expanded her services to become a volunteer tour guide in 2015.
Driscoll’s typical shift varies widely. Her work with Helping Hands normally finds her serving on an inpatient floor, sitting with patients and siblings and allowing parents to get a much-needed break. She enjoys playing games, crafts and sitting quietly with patients as they rest.
“I try to always have a couple small tubs of Play-Doh with me during my shift,” she said. “Regardless of age, ability, culture or language differences, nearly all kids like playing with Play-Doh.”
Driscoll also conducts weekly hospital tours and assists with large corporate and group events. Her clerical work has included assisting Managed Care, Immigration Services, a Pathology lab, Occupational Health, and Social Work and Rehabilitation Services. Her tasks range from filing, copying and database projects to preparing patient and family informational folders.
Prior to becoming a St. Jude volunteer, Driscoll was a stay-at-home mom of two daughters. She states she was blessed to have the ability to homeschool her children through high school. When her children left for college, Driscoll found she had extra time and a desire to help others. This led Driscoll to volunteer at her local church, a literacy council and other community organizations.
Driscoll finds her volunteer work helps put life into perspective.
“It’s awesome meeting and helping kids and people from all over the world, but the best is making someone smile,” she said.
Driscoll says she hopes she has helped or comforted them in some way and made their time at St. Jude a little easier. She has many fond memories: having her portrait drawn by a patient, rocking a baby to sleep after his rough night, and having a doctor stop her in the corridor to shake her hand and thank her for being a volunteer. She also helps families find their memorial walkway bricks and brings smiles each Halloween through costumes and activities.
Driscoll says she leaves each shift feeling appreciated and valued as part of the St. Jude team. The unexpected bonus is that she has met and become friends with many staff and other volunteers.