If you had to think of a few words to describe Allie Young, the first one to come to mind might be “active.” As a Ready Runner, she’s constantly in motion- collecting and cleaning wagons and wheelchairs, racing around the campus to help our families, and always working to put a smile on somebody’s face.
Young came to volunteer at St Jude for the first time in September of 2015. When she moved to Memphis for school, she realized that she wanted to spend some of her time giving back to our community. “Of course I knew about St Jude and the work it does for kids, so I immediately worked on getting involved,” she writes. Between her busy schedule of pursuing a Biology major and an Environmental Sciences minor, playing on the Rhodes women’s basketball team, and training for the St Jude Rock and Roll Marathon, she still finds time to give back.
Young’s average shift is anything but dull. She participates in our Walk in the Park program, where Ready Runners track the total number of steps that they take during their shifts. She puts even fitness lovers to shame, averaging ten thousand steps in the two hours that she spends on duty. But while some might feel tired after such a feat, she describes her time at St Jude as rejuvenating. “It’s lifting the spirits of the patients and families around you, as well as your own spirit, that is simply amazing,” she says.
Perhaps the most striking thing about Young is how easily she is able to make others smile. She sees hope in everything around her and has a positive outlook on life that quickly rubs off on others. She recalled her first day as a Ready Runner, when she tripped while stacking wagons- right in front of a patient. Looking back on it, she smiles at how it made that girl laugh. “My embarrassing wipeout was probably the highlight of her day, and I’m 100% okay with that.” That bright and sunny perspective is something she sees in the kids she works with too, and is something that she spoke to frequently:
“The excitement and wonder in their eyes when I walk by and they’re looking at the art wall, or looking at the sunset over the pyramid- it’s the little things they do that stand out the most and remind you that everything will be okay.”