Volunteer Motivation – let it come from the heart

What is the biggest volunteer motivation? One of the strongest reasons, that I have come across, is people’s own struggles, especially when it comes to volunteering in medical fields. My first hand experience with it was when I ran at the Dash for Donors. Most of the participants were there because they have had a personal connection with an organ donor. They were running with and for their loved ones.

A similar emotion is what I felt when I saw the video of Michelle Zenie’s volunteering with the Paediatric Cancer Foundation of Lehigh Valley (PCFLV), Bethlehem. Michelle’s son, Cole, is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 3 and the experience of going through the treatment motivated Michelle to volunteer at PCFLV. She and her team volunteer with kids diagnosed with cancer and their families. They create fun activities and events for these children to take their mind off the treatment and also give the family a little break.

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“It sort of took me by surprise how meaningful it was for me to see the kids again who were in treatment and to connect with the parents who were going through that experience that i had gone through.” – Michelle, volunteer with Paediatric Cancer Foundation


One of the most beautiful things of their work is the Chemo Circus – bringing lots of fun, laughter and smiles in the otherwise stressed environment of the treatment centre. They may not be physicians, but like Patch Adams said:

The role of a clown and a physician are the same – it’s to elevate the possible and to relieve suffering.

To connect with parents going through the same experience must bring in a whole different meaning and purpose to Michelle’s volunteering.

I hope in this new year we are all able to find a cause close to our heart. Volunteering then will cease to be something “extra” that we do to give back but will be a natural part of our life.

See the original video (image source) and transcript at: WFMZ news

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