Volunteer Spotlight Q&A

Each month we highlight a volunteer who goes above and beyond to help kids with cancer...be kids! Follow our posts on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

 Click here if you are interested in volunteering.


May 2018

Christine Williams

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids? 

♥ I’ve been volunteering with Friends of Kids for about 6 months!

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ It means that I get to give back to Friends of Kids because there have been so many times you have been there to put a smile on Ryan's face when he wasn't feeling well. The biggest time was his 5th birthday, he had been in-patient for 11 days and counting, on his 5th birthday and thanks to friends of kids he had a great celebration and so many gifts.  I want to help make that happen for other kids.

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

♥ By far the Fashion Show! What an amazing day!

Q: Additional Comments

♥ Thank you so much for all that Friends of Kids does to help our little warriors through tough times.  I know that the people behind the scenes don't often get to experience the joy on these kids faces first hand, but I have seen it through Ryan and it is truly appreciated more that you will ever know.  Thank you so much!


March 2018

Natalie Condon

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids? 

♥ I’ve been volunteering with Friends of Kids since the end of January. It has been the best 3 months of my life so far!

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ Volunteering with Friends means everything to me. The organization did so much for my dear friend, Lexi Tullmann, and her family while she was undergoing treatment. They helped her feel normal and young when she was going through something so difficult. While Lexi lost her battle with cancer, it has made me feel like I am honoring her with every child that I can help with through Friends of Kids With Cancer.

Q: Additional Comments

♥ I am so proud of the work that FOKWC does, and the heart and generosity of everyone involved. I am incredibly honored to be able to volunteer, and I firmly believe that it is the best decision I have ever made. It is filled with so many wonderful people, children, and families. Thank you for letting me help!


February 2018

Vivian Lascon

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids? 

♥ I’ve been volunteering with Friends of Kids with Cancer since my freshman year of high school (the fall of 2016).

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ I started volunteering with Friends of Kids Cancer as a way for me to give back to the community, and since then, I love coming out to help out every week. Volunteering here makes me feel like I am making a small difference, so thank you for having me as the volunteer of the month! 


January 2018

Mari Filson and Tara Cherkas

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids? 

Tara and I have been volunteering for FOKWC for about 2-1/2 years

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

Volunteering for Friends means, quite simply, an opportunity to make a child smile - a child who grapples daily with a reality that has the power to steal happiness from even the toughest grown-up.

At FOKWC, we get to be a positive stepping stone in what is usually a long and intensely difficult journey. We aim for them to be kids first, and to defocus on cancer. It’s all about the moments, making each and every one count. Few people live like this, but these kids truly do live “out loud”. They teach us so much each and every time we volunteer, and make it almost impossible for us to take things for granted.

Friends and family frequently ask us if working with sick children makes us sad, and it feels great to be able to dispel that notion. We can honestly answer “No, not usually”. These are regular kids who just happen to have a disease. We feel honored to be able to share their journeys and to bring them as much pure joy and special treatment as we possibly can. As mother and daughter, it is extraordinary to be able to share this with each other. We can honestly say, the volunteer experience is unparalleled.


December 2017

Ron Scanlon

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids? 

♥ I’ve been volunteering with Friends since we discovered Kyle had Stage 2 Melanoma on his ear,a little over a year ago. 

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ Nothing will take away the feeling you get when three Wash U Dr.s walk in with their lab coats on and try to explain, what’s about to happen to your child. At 11 years old you’re worried about adjusting to Jr High, never imagining cancer was an option. Kyle is a true sports fan, one thing he had never done was go to a Blues Hockey game, I knew we had to get him there prior to his surgery. 

I met a lady named Judy, no clue who she was, just that she was part of Friends of Kids with Cancer and here to help. She was so soft spoken and kind over the phone, I instantly trusted her and her organization! Friends arranged to get Kyle to a St Louis Blues Halloween party the Friday before his surgery. I’m fortunate that every time I think of Kyle’s situation I’m able, just as quickly and frequently, to think of Friends, their staff, and what they did for a little boy.


November 2017

Jerry Clippard

 Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ When  growing up I had a childhood friend that was diagnosed with cancer and I could not do anything back then to help.  Volunteering with Friends of Kids with Cancer  is very rewarding and I feel I'm making a difference.

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

♥ So far I would have to say my favorite event is the Friends of Kids with Cancer Art from the Heart. I am very excited to continue volunteering and experience all the other wonderful events.


October 2017

Carissa & CaLana

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids? 

♥ We have been volunteering since Summer 2017

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ Helping FOK gives Carissa and I an opportunity to show how grateful we are for the gifts and encouragement she received during her treatment for sickle cell anemia. Even though her doctors have confirmed that her bone marrow transplant was successful in eliminating her SCD, we know there are many kids who are still very sick and in recovery. Volunteering gives us a way to help them and never take Carissa's healing for granted. 


September 2017

Victor Espinoza

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids? 

♥ I have been volunteering since 2007

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ Volunteering means a great deal to me since I know first hand how this organization has helped out many kids enjoy their time while dealing with medical needs. I try to help out whenever possible, since it gives me an opportunity to be part of an organization that gives back to the families, especially the children.

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

♥ All events are great, there is no specific event that doesn't put a smile on a child. And knowing that I am a part of such a great event, only brings joy to me. I have volunteered at many organizations and Friends is by far the best. Not only do they help out the children and their families but they make us "volunteer" feel like part of the family. It is good to know that I can give back and help in putting a smile on a child's face


August 2017

Ala Blaszczyk

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids? 

I have been volunteering with Friends since Mid-July.

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ Volunteering for Friends means that I am in a way helping a child who may feel alone or different in their current situation. As a former cancer patient, I still remember every single time I received a gift card, an iPad, and especially events like the Fashion Show that I could partake in because of Friends. Not only did these items make me feel as though I was not forgotten, but it made me realize that I have a whole support system behind me rooting for my success. Even though I may have felt like the only one enduring the physical challenge of having cancer, I knew that so many people who either worked or donated to Friends were there to support my journey. When I volunteer I feel like I am a part of that "support system" for the kids which is an indescribable feeling. 

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

♥ Definitely the fashion show! It was the first event where I met so many people from different hospitals, and even the same hospital as the one I went to! Not only did I feel like a star that day, but I also met incredible people who worked or volunteered at Friends as well as so many incredible patients. 


July 2017

Colleen Laughlin

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids?

I have been a volunteer for about a year and a half.

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

 It is an honor to volunteer for a great organization that does so much for patients and their families. Being a small part of the organization gives me a great sense of fulfillment.  

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

 I truly enjoyed volunteering at the Halloween Party last year. Watching the fun all the patients and their families were having was the best!

 


June 2017

Cindy Woods

Q: What does volunteering for friends mean to you?

♥ I have witnessed the good in people and their generosity of compassion and loving kindness for children fighting cancer and their families. Volunteering is what I receive from their experiences and it touches my life and that of my daughter's.

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

♥ I would have to say ALL of the events. Every event Friends of Kids with Cancer sponsors brings beautiful smiles, laughter, and twinkles in the eyes of children with cancer. 

Q: Any additional comments?

Our daughter, Mary Beth, was diagnosed with cancer July of 1992. 25 years! We remember...today, tomorrow, and forever.


May 2017

Bob Nuelle

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids?

It's been over 15 happy years. I had a call from Gary Saetelle asking me to help with the golf tournament. I met with Judy and Rick and they sold me on the mission of the charity and I joined the team. It has been and continues to be one of the best decisions I have made.

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

 It gives me a chance to "give something back" for all the blessings my family and I have received. I decided when I retired in 1992 that I was going to devote as much time as possible to help others, especially children. I have had the pleasure of serving on the board of directors, the finance, development and strategic planning committee as well as co-chairing the golf tournament. I also volunteer for Munchie Mondays, a service that I really enjoy when you see the smiles on the children's faces as they see the food we bring them for lunch. 

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

 The Golf Tournament by leaps and bounds. It gives me a chance to really sell the needs of the charity as we solicit sponsorships for the event. It is also gratifying to see how it has evolved and is now one of the largest financial contributors to the charity. It is exciting for me to work with Rick and the other members of the golf committee as we achieve together the  common goal of "enriching the daily lives of these special kids."

Q: Any additional comments?

 As I approach my 90th birthday my only regret is that I don't have the stamina and energy to do all the things I used to do for the charity. But I will continue to do what I can to contribute to the success of the charity as long as I can. One of the other nice things is the friendliness and the atmosphere by the executive director and the staff at the Friends office. Nowhere else do you get the feeling of being so welcome as you do there. 


April 2017

Anita Higginbotham

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids?

I started volunteering through work in 2005/2006 and the first thing I worked on was a toy drive. 

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

 I've volunteered at many places, mostly children related foundations, and I've seen up close the impact of hardships on kids. They are scared, strong and anxious, and a lot of times they aren't able to do things for themselves so it means a lot to me that I can help them through Friends. The little things and the big things mean a lot to them, and it's easy and FUN for me to do it for them. It makes me feel good knowing I can help the kids. 

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

 My favorite event would have to be the walk.  All of your events include the kids and a lot of families, but the walk is so community inclusive!  The kids, their families, their friends and people who just want to help come out and enjoy a great day.  And the games and picnic tables and mascots and music and family t-shirts and all the excitement around it is very cool. 

Q: Any additional comments?

I think Friends is very cool because you do so much for the families and the kids.  The fashion show is to raise funds, but what a great thing to give these kids the opportunities to stand out as models!  And again the walk, a wonderful way to have fun and enjoy a beautiful day!  Everything you guys do has two purposes, one to accomplish a goal (fundraise, help a child) and two to make things a little less anxious for these awesome kids.  You guys truly rock!


March 2017

Caroline Brands

Q: Why did you choose Friends of Kids as your service project?

♥ I signed up to volunteer for friends last year because I had heard such good things about it from my friend Becca Leslie, whose brother, Caleb Leslie, was in treatment and benefited from Friends.

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

♥ I really love knowing that I'm playing even a very small part in helping someone get through a particularly rough day of chemo or giving someone Christmas presents. it's been great getting to be a part of such a wonderful organization!

 


February 2017

Jamie Pusateri

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids?

I've been volunteering for a couple of years now through hospital lunch deliveries, toy shopping and deliveries and other opportunities. I joined my first Friends committee this past year for the upcoming Friends trivia night and have reallyenjoyed being a part of that!

Q: What does volunteering for Friends mean to you?

Volunteering for Friends to me means bringing as many smiles as possible to the faces of these sweet kiddos and their families and of course most importantly helping them just be KIDS! My boys (5, 2, & 1-year-olds) are often right beside me volunteering too, so I love that it enables me to also teach and show them at such a young age one of the most important things in life: giving back and doing what you can to help others.

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

 One of my favorite Friends of Kids events is Art from the Heart. My husband, mother-in-law and I attended this year and it was such an inspiring event. We loved meeting some of the artists and every single piece of art was heartwarming and beautiful. We left with some amazing artwork for our home!

Q: Any additional comments?

I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to volunteer with such an amazing organization. Every committee or event or effort I have been a part of is filled with so much love. Every person involved throughout the organization is such a joy to work with. My family and I hope to continue to contribute and help in any way we can!


January 2017

Laurie Schweizer

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Friends of Kids?

A little over nine years, one day a week in the office. Some would say it's one "night" a week since Iget in so late in the day.

This organization provides so many different things for children and their families dealing with illness. I like that families, and especially siblings of children going through treatment, are embraced and included by Friends. My tiny contribution of time allows me to be part of something I hold in very high esteem. The bonus is having met some incredible people along the way.

Q: What is your favorite Friends of Kids event?

I love the Fashion Show! Seeing the kids so happy as they walk the runway and knowing they are feeling so special is exhilarating. So many people work hard to make that day wonderful and memorable, and those attending are so positive and supportive - the whole experience is beyond uplifting!