by Carol M. Karimi, February 2010
Grateful patient, caring volunteer
Volunteers play an incredibly important role at each CPMC campus, offering a friendly face and a warm, personable connection to visitors walking in for the first time. Among the volunteers donating their time and energy, many are former patients who all have one thing in common: they show their gratitude by helping others get through what they did.
Nick Razo spent 63 days in and out of the Medical Center in 2003. He had undergone a liver transplant. Nick says he realized he wanted to volunteer at CPMC’s Liver Disease Management and Transplant Program while he was still in recovery.
A tremendous asset to the program
Nick began volunteering in 2004 and currently works with the liver transplant support group. Twice weekly, he attends meetings with pre-op and post‐op patients. Nick talks about his own experience and answers questions from patients who are concerned about what to expect. He will even visit recovering patients at the request of family members.
“Sometimes there are things that a former patient can answer better than anyone else,” confides Nick. At the end of every meeting, he shares the same message with patients: “If you made it to CPMC and made it to this meeting, then you are already 99.9% there. People walk out with a huge weight lifted off their shoulders, because they know they are going to be okay.”
“Nick is a very special person and a wonderful volunteer,” notes Director of Volunteer Services, Carole Burns. “People feel a strong connection to him which makes him a tremendous asset to the program.”
“When we have a patient with concerns or complications, we call on Nick to assist us,” shares Wendy Tribby, physician assistant in liver transplants. “He is a very important part of our support program.”
Giving from the heart
Nick also praises the level of expertise found at CPMC. “I give speeches advocating that when doctors encounter something that they cannot manage or treat, they have an obligation to refer their patients to the best care available and should refer them to specialized centers like CPMC’s Transplant Program that has the collective expertise to handle such situations.”
With regard to his volunteerism, Nick explains his drive simply, “Since I don’t have millions of dollars to give to the Medical Center, I give with my heart.”