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Mayo Clinic Volunteer Finds Joy and Inspiration Helping Pediatric Patients

Volunteerism is as much about what is given as is taken out, with Mayo Clinic volunteers oftentimes finding the same inspiration, joy and perspective they bring to patients’ lives.

For volunteer Jackie Butler, it was witnessing the resiliency and bravery of pediatric patients that taught her to use that same force-of-will mentality in her own life.

 “I volunteer because of the continuous inspiration I feel from the children and adolescents I get to meet, Jackie says. “Through my years volunteering, I have found children to be incredibly brave and resilient during typically very difficult times, which inspires me to do the same.”

Jackie is in the process of completing her master’s degree to become a child life specialist, helping children and families understand and cope with illness, treatment and hospitalization.

“I volunteer because bringing joy to children and their families while they are often facing some of the most difficult challenges in their lives is my passion, and it is a true privilege,” Jackie says. “I think being able to provide an opportunity for kids to still ‘be kids’ while they face these challenges is so rewarding.”

Jackie says it is these small kindnesses that can have the greatest impact on patients, and acts such as helping them pick a new toy or try a new activity can be the brief relief from the constant pressure of the day. She simply asks “why not” when thinking about it, saying that volunteers take every opportunity to put a smile on the faces of people they encounter.

Mayo Clinic is solving the world’s most serious and complex medical challenges — one patient at a time.

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