Making a Difference

In the past two months that I have been here at UCF, I have gotten to experience many great events with great people. I have worked the expo for the first annual Half Full Tri, I have worked with an amazing survivor to create a PSA about her story, and have participated in a very successful volunteer Thank You event. Yesterday however was by far my favorite day yet, and I’ll tell you why….

Last year UCF started a gift drive for our patients down at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC). It was a great success and because of those efforts, UCF decided to have another gift drive again this year. With the help of a ton of wonderful people we had over 240 gifts donated and $2,000+ in gift cards. I had the help of some amazing volunteers, and we wrapped all the presents in 6 hours! It was a fun but exhausting day! Two of our families even got sponsored by two great organizations, the Girl Scouts and Opal Staff.

For me, the best part about the gift drive wasn’t gathering up the donations, or wrapping all the presents (wrapping was fun though!), it was actually going to the Stoler Pavilion in UMGCC and talking with the patients. To me, that was the best experience to date.

The Ulman Team set up shop in Stoler Pavilion with donated coffee from Starbucks and cookies to say thank you to the staff in the cancer center and to reach out the all the cancer patients that were in yesterday. We also passed out cookies and Starbucks gift cards to the units in the hospital just to say thank you for all that everyone does there on a daily basis.

What I loved the most was meeting the patients yesterday. I enjoyed sitting with them and just hearing their stories and future holiday plans. Every young adult cancer patient I talked with  made me appreciate what we do as an organization. We make a difference in the lives of so many young people going through hard times.

At the end of our time at the hospital yesterday, I knew we had made people smile and had made their day a little bit better. That is a wonderful feeling and that is why yesterday was my favorite day so far here at UCF.

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About Ashley Portrey

Volunteer Coordinator, AmeriCorps member, tennis player, Thanatologist, volunteer, and bargain shopper. Loves anything green, red skittles, tennis, and traveling.
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