[Skip to Content]

Who Volunteers?



After many hospitalizations as a child, Heather was introduced to volunteering and began her tenure with Upstate as a Teen Volunteer.  She enjoyed her Pediatrics placement immensely and has since helped in the Surgical Waiting Room, Physical Therapy and Admissions- just to name a few.

Heather has volunteered at Upstate for over 18 years and typically comes in to the downtown campus multiple times each week.  This has resulted in over 10,500 volunteer hours at the hospital!

Heather is a role model and preceptor for new volunteers in Express.  She has dedicated 2-3 shifts a week for many years and is definitely a calm presence.

Halleluyah (Lou)


Halleluyah recently obtained his Masters degree in Bio Medical Sciences from SU and is taking a gap year before applying to medical school. He has always wanted to be a medical practitioner, and believes that volunteering at Upstate will help jumpstart his goal to one day serve the Upstate NY community as a doctor (hopefully a cardiologist). He believes that immersing himself in this setting will help reaffirm his deep-rooted desire to practice medicine while learning the ins and outs of the hospital and what constitutes high quality patient care.

Halleluyah has been volunteering off and on since January of 2019 in a variety of roles at both Community and the Downtown campus.  Currently, Halleluyah helps in Express, but has really loved his volunteer roles in the Surgery Center and PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit). Because these are both very busy places, volunteer assistance helps staff move patients from surgery to recovery efficiently.  

Rick & Mary


Rick and Mary volunteer together in both the Spiritual Care department as well as helping to transport and escort patients and visitors throughout the facility.  They initially became involved at Upstate after seeing a notice in their church bulletin looking for Eucharistic Ministers. Being of service to their community is highly important to them.

Both have volunteered at Upstate for more than 5 years and have given over 1,700 hours combined. Prior to volunteering, Rick and Mary both worked – and coming in to the hospital became their initial retirement activity.  Before COVID, Rick and Mary would travel abroad several times a year.  They create books from their trips and share their experience with friends both in & out of the hospital.

Mary likes to garden and is in the Fairmount Garden Club.  She, along with other hospital volunteers plant beautiful flowers in the front of Community Hospital each Spring.  This brightens the day for staff and patients alike!

Celeste & Sadie


Sadie has been a part of our Animal Assisted Therapy program with her handler and volunteer team member, Celeste – otherwise known as “mom” to Sadie – for over 4 years.

They visit the Cancer Center infusion area as well as the adult Behavioral Health unit at both campuses.

(Our AAT teams are fully vetted by PAWS of CNY before becoming Upstate volunteers)


WHY Upstate Volunteers Give Their Time

When asked why they volunteer, or what they love most, this is what some of Upstate’s volunteers had to say: 

▪ I love to help others and it’s a bonus to be able to come and spend time with my “second family” every week.

▪ To make a different in someone’s day, and to share my amazing dog with others.

▪ I wanted to do something to repay the hospital for the care they gave my wife during her illness.

▪ Because it teaches, uplifts and inspires me.

▪ To meet amazing new people and to help and make a difference in the lives of others.

▪ I want to give back to this amazing hospital and I have met so many awesome people!

▪ To make a patient smile!

▪ To help where needed, to continue to be active, to be involved with life, to be a part of something. Thank you.

▪ When I pour myself out in service to others, I am filled with joy and peace!

▪ It’s a gift to spend time with patients and families.

▪ Because I can. There are a lot of people who have no one. It’s the least I can do.

▪ I think if everyone took a second to help someone else, the world would be a better place.