Cancer Treatment Centers of America H.O.P.E. Team Pet Therapy
Wet nose. Hairy body. Drooling. Panting. Not exactly words you would typically use to describe an ideal hospital volunteer. But when Nelli, a 6-year-old Australian Shepherd wakes up in the morning, she knows she has important work to do as part of CTCA’s pet therapy program. Jean Reynolds created the program in 2008 and now has eight teams – all certified through the Delta Society for animal assisted therapy – volunteering at the hospital.
Reynolds developed the program out of her sincere desire to give back to the community with the help of her therapy dog, Nelli. She relentlessly labored to expand the program, has spent countless hours recruiting and training other pet therapy team, all while managing the nonprofit organization and continuing hospital visits with Nelli.
According to CTCA volunteer coordinator Jennifer Kehren, the H.O.P.E. Team Pet Therapy program has a profound impact on cancer patients and their loved ones. As she explains it, their faces light up when the dogs come to visit. A patient can be having a mad day, but suddenly they are laughing and smiling when their furry friends comes to play.
Ronald J. Sell, M.D.
Hope Community Health Center
Sell has been the medical director for HCHC since April 1, 2011. He is responsible for overseeing the medical care for approximately 1,000 patients seen at a community medical clinic that serves uninsured patients. Sell personally sees about 30 patients each week, while directing the activities of approximately 20 other volunteers, including two other volunteer physicians. Sell has worked tirelessly as a volunteer in the community, providing medical care for indigent, undocumented and unemployed people who could not otherwise afford even basic health care. He has recruited other physicians and ancillary service providers to provide free or low-cost medical services.
La Paz Regional Hospital
Gormley, 92, has held many positions with the hospital’s auxiliary – president, fund raising and development, scholarships and more. She has worked in the gift shop and helped in administration. In 2005, at the age of 85, Gormley headlined the hospital’s “Hey, Seniors – Get Pumped” newsletter about physical fitness and aging. Gormey was – and still is – a model of physical fitness. She continued to waterski until age 87, using a wetsuit so she could continue into the winter months. She credits walking and sports – along with her volunteer activities – with keeping her mentally and physically fit.