Giving your self to service is life's true fulfillment. There is no better feeling than helping the less fortunate. I myself have had hands on experience with community service and it has changed me in miraculous ways. Last summer I started volunteering at Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital. Eager to help I went in with my eyes closed and learned lessons I thought I would never learn. At the beginning of my journey I saw this hospital like any other one, one that is designed to cure the ill.
But this hospital is in a league all its own; putting smiles on the patients faces regardless of how sick they really are. This is a place in which sick children can be themselves regardless of prejudice and stereotyping. The world is a cruel place and these poor innocence beings just need a place to forget their worries and Joe DiMaggio is a place to let loose. Many of my tasks at the hospital where hands on. Reading, playing, arts and crafts, or just simply offering moral support is a volunteer's top priority. Just after a couple of weeks at the hospital, I became a regular.
Patients were beginning to ask about me and were inquiring when I would come and play. The feeling of being helpful encouraged me and I began spending more and more time at the hospital. I would visit patients on my days off and became quite close to many of them through the weeks. On an ordinary day at the hospital, I met a boy around my age named Steven. Steven was very shy and kept to himself and for some reason he decided to confide in me. We became great friends and I saw him every time I went to the hospital.
One day he decided to come clean and he confessed to me that he had been diagnosed with cancer- at that precise moment my heart broke into a thousand pieces. How could this happen to such a wonderful person? I know that God does everything for a reason, but I could help but blame him. Here was a boy of about 16 years of age with a terminal illness, a boy that still hadn't experienced life fully, someone with so much potential- it just make me feel horrible.
I couldn't stand it and I avoided Steven for weeks, I couldn't find the courage to face him and I knew I had to be strong for him. I put my selfishness away and focused on Steven's needs. His therapy began and I was there for him every step of the way. I gave myself to him, offering support and most of all my friendship. The weeks passed and his therapy was beginning to be a nightmare, his hair fell out and he lost that twinkle in his eyes. He was a different person; as if this illness had not only taken over his body, but also is soul.
His dazzling personality faded along with his health, it got to the point that he could no longer walk and had to travel around in a wheelchair. He had to stop going to school and all of his friends had forgotten about him for the exception of his family and I. I stood strong although I saw defeat in his eyes. After two months, Steven began to recuperate. Although the cancer was not completely gone, he was almost cured.
With the help of gifted doctors Steven was on his way to a normal life. God had performed a miracle and I was present the entire time. With rest and more therapy he was back to himself. He started school again and he got to go home. The day he left the hospital I was filled with complex emotions.
I was so blissful that he was okay, but I was gloomy because I was losing my best friend. We said our goodbyes and he was on his way. I never saw Steven again, but I know in my heart that he is in good health and he will live a long happy life. Steven was only one of the many miracles I have met while volunteering at Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital, and hopefully there will be many more. Even though I thought my efforts at the hospital were useless they are in fact helpful. Any bit of moral support for a child at their moment of need is priceless.
To put a smile on their faces is the best thrill in this ever so superficial world. My experience has changed me; not only am I thankful for my health, but this has taught me to value it. There are so many unfortunate people in this world and we take it for granted everyday of our lives. For once we as a society need to make an impact and help those that are less privileged. Offer if only a portion of yourself to the service of others, the benefits are endless.