My name is Payton. I am 14 years old, but have been a volunteer for about nine years now and have experienced and learned many things along the way. You may not know, but the reason I started volunteering in the first place is because, when I was about one year old, my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We lived in Colorado at the time and moved to Wisconsin a few years later, while she was in remission, to be closer to family. My dad stumbled upon Gilda’s Club when I was five years old and looked into it. He convinced me to volunteer with him as a team. Little did I know at the time, but nine years later we’re still actively helping out. I pretty much grew up with Gilda’s Club and see everyone there as family.

I have also developed many skills that I can use for the rest of my life. For example, I improved my communication and listening skills at the greeter desk every Tuesday, and I work a lot on helping out with hands-on tasks. I have also met and gotten along with many wonderful members that I look forward to seeing every Tuesday. One gentleman in particular always makes a point to come, say hello, start a conversation and he also likes to give my dad a hard time about me being his boss. He has also complimented me many times on the work I have done. I am so glad I am able to build those kinds of relationships. I have seen many very sick members and their families get better with the help of Gilda’s Club and that is really cool to see!

There was one experience in particular that I think about a lot. There was a member that was about my age who didn’t have cancer herself, but one day she walked into the clubhouse and announced that she had been diagnosed with pediatric cancer. This is one of the members that I have built a relationship with, so seeing that was a moment where you’re just like “woah”, like this doesn’t feel real right now. That moment really reminded me why I like to do what I do. I like helping lots of people, like her and her family who need it. It makes me very happy. I am also very glad to say that this girl eventually recovered!

So those were my many experiences with Gilda’s Club and I encourage others to help out like me and my family do. It will change the way you look at things in a positive way.

During the COVID pandemic, volunteering with Gilda’s Club is difficult. However, when we return to the clubhouse, volunteer help will be needed! Learn more by checking out this link and completing the online volunteer application today!

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