Patient Care: Volunteer Profile
Annual Report - 2006-2007
Time Well Spent
By Gail Goodwin
Mabel Ligh believes that volunteering at M. D. Anderson is a blessing for her, but her colleagues affirm that she herself is a blessing.
Always active in her church, Ligh felt it was time to take her faith outside the sanctuary walls. So, in 1995, she came to M. D. Anderson armed with the desire to help people.
Ligh has another reason behind her volunteering. She knows firsthand the impact that a volunteer can make on patients and their families during treatment. She has experienced cancer as both a caregiver to her husband and a patient. She was treated for a benign kidney tumor and her right kidney was removed in 1999.
Ligh has expanded her volunteer role over the years, now working three days every week doing different things. People needing help in the surgery waiting room, in the diagnostic imaging area and at the information desk benefit from her attention.
Described by her supervisors in Volunteer Services as the consummate volunteer, Ligh is always willing to assist and take on any task. She currently chairs M. D. Anderson’s Volunteer Roundtable and enjoys hearing the feedback she gets from the many areas where volunteers work.
“In a sense, we become the eyes and ears for the departments,” she explains. “I enjoy learning about the institution so that I have all of its resources at my fingertips to pass on to patients.”
Last year, Ligh served as a member of the Emergency Center Lean Kaizen (a Japanese term meaning continuous improvement) team. Her role was to determine if the center could make use of volunteers. The answer was a resounding “yes.”
The extra support is welcomed as the number of patients seen in the center has nearly doubled over the past six years to more than 19,000 visits in 2007. The center was relocated and expanded last year to meet the growing need for its services.
It’s the balance of family, faith and service to others that makes Ligh feel whole. What she calls “the most rewarding experience that anyone could have” becomes a true reward for the patients and families she sees.