For the past 24 years Barbara Blagg has spent much of her time at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Regional Cancer Center. While nearly a quarter of a century ago, Blagg can still remember her first thoughts on volunteering at SBL.
“My friend heard about a meeting they were having about volunteering at Sarah Bush Lincoln, and asked me if I would go with her,” said Blagg. “They said they needed volunteers in the Cancer Center, so we decided we would help out, it was that simple!”
Since that first meeting, Blagg has continued to volunteer her time in the Cancer Center, sitting with patients, picking up lab work, making trips to and from the blood bank and other various volunteer services that are needed.
Blagg was recently honored at the Sarah Bush Lincoln Volunteer Guild Banquet with the Volunteer of the Year award.
Over the years, things at Sarah Bush Lincoln have changed, but Blagg has continued to help out in any way that she is needed. According to her, one of the biggest changes is the transportation of the blood bank services.
“We use to walk down to the lab and pick up the blood work that was needed for the Cancer Center, however now we have a new system,” she said.
“This system transfers blood back and forth through a tube, like you would find at a bank drive through,” Blagg states. This is helpful for the volunteers and the employees.”
“The average age of the volunteers is around 78 years old, so the walking back and forth put a strain on our abilities to help out,” she says.
Over the years Blagg has become a natural leader in Volunteer Services. She creates a work schedule for the Cancer Center volunteers every month, fills in often when someone can’t make it and has become the driving force for the SBL Guild Rummage Sale.
Together with the committee, she spends weeks putting together all the details for the rummage sale; gathering clothes and household items, pricing them and encouraging people to attend the event.
“This year was, by far, our biggest rummage sale to date,” she said. “We raised more than $5,000,” she said. Proceeds from the rummage sale go toward healthcare scholarships for students in the area.
Blagg highly recommends members of the community to volunteer their time at Sarah Bush Lincoln. “I’ve met so many wonderful, lifelong friends volunteering, and I’ve enjoyed being an emotional resource for patients during hard times,” she says.
“When you see the happiness in cancer patients getting their last treatments, the rewards of volunteering are worth every minute of my time,” she says.
For more information, about being a Sarah Bush Lincoln Guild Volunteer, please contact Colleen Stoner, Director of Volunteer Services, at (217) 258-2500, or visit www.sarahbush.org.