DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s a group of volunteers on the frontline with young cancer patients and their parents.

Pat Satterwhite’s job as a Patient Pal at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas may seem simple.

“I sit with kids when parents aren’t able to be with their kids. Just go and keep them company. And if they’re older kids, sometimes you just talk with them and color with them,” explained Satterwhite.

On this day, she is playing in a hospital room with Kami. The child celebrated her third birthday last month. Kami is battling b-cell leukemia and Down’s Syndrome.

“Each day my mind wraps a little further around it. It’s baby steps,” said Cynthia Clements, Kami’s mother.

And that’s where people like Pat, a nurse for more than 40 years before retiring in 2011, step in.

“A lot of these parents can’t be with their kids. They have to work. They have to keep up with their insurance. And we’re here to help fill that void,” according to Satterwhite.

She can relate to these young patients. Pat Satterwhite is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991.

“It puts everything in perspective. What’s really important. What really counts. What’s more important than the kids?” asked Satterwhite.

For a few minutes, or hours, the Patient Pals are ready with a smile and plenty of attention to give. And that helps families who find themselves in a tough place in life.

“It’s nice to know there are Pats here to give me a break, or another family member a break, and we can leave the room and know our child is cared for and loved,” exclaimed Clements.

To learn more about adult volunteer programs at Children’s Medical Center click here.

 

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