MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In tonight’s What’s Working, volunteers at USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute are helping cancer patients during their chemo treatments. These volunteers, called Chemo Sabes, are making patients more comfortable during a difficult time, and there’s a need for more of them.
Viola Hunter receives weekly chemotherapy treatments at the Mitchell Cancer Institute to fight her cancer. She appreciates the extra attention she receives from the Chemo Sabes. They bring her blankets, drinks, snacks and provide a listening ear.
“It’s a good feeling to know that we are loved here and taken care of,” said Hunter.
WKRG talked with two Chemo Sabe volunteers. Wanda Johnson is a breast cancer survivor who loves giving back.
“They will say, ‘Can you bring me a blanket? Can I have something to drink?’ Having been there, I understand that and that makes it easier,” said Hunter.
Volunteer, Denise McIrvin, started volunteering after her sister Leila, started the Chemo Sabes group over a decade ago. Leila passed away from ovarian cancer in 2010. McIrvin loves carrying on her sister’s legacy.
“In that program, she would provide services to the patient, such as blankets, pillows, snacks, and carry on a conversation. Some of them want to talk and the nurses don’t have time. They are too busy getting to the other patients. She saw a need for that and gathered her friends, and it took off from there,” said McIrvin.
Susan Crutchfield with MCI said the Chemo Sabes make such a difference to the patients.
“It’s a difficult time in their life, just to see a smiling face, a consistent person they come each week, and they will start to miss that volunteer,” said Crutchfield.
Chemo Sabe volunteers are asked to come once a week, for 3 to 4 hours a day. Since Covid, MCI has lost some volunteers and Crutchfield is hoping more people will step up to help.
If you would like to volunteer, there are locations on both sides of the bay. Click here for a direct link to the application or call 251-410-1010.