SCCA Volunteer Spotlight: Miggie Olsson

Miggie Olsson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 7 ½ years ago. For 18 months she underwent treatment at SCCA, which consisted of chemotherapy, surgery, then chemotherapy again followed by radiation. Ever since then she’s been cancer-free and it was her experience as a patient at SCCA that led her to volunteer here.

miggie-olsson-250“SCCA saved my life when other facilities would have given up on me,” says Miggie. “Everyone understood what I was going through, and their positive attitudes helped me get through the treatment.”

Her time as a patient also got her familiar with the organization and allowed her to make an easy transition into the Guest Services desk role—a job she has been doing for three and a half years. “Every day is different and presents interesting challenges. I learn a lot from the people who approach the desk and from my desk partners, and I just enjoy the traffic and conversations when I am there.”

The Guest Services desk, located on the main floor of the SCCA clinic, acts as an information hub and gateway to Seattle for patients and their family members. Volunteers in this role have a variety of responsibilities including distributing donated tickets to patients’ families, escorting patients in wheelchairs, and the popular service of providing candy. Since the Guest Services volunteers have constant interaction with patients, it’s not surprising that Miggie has had her share of memorable moments with patients. 

One encounter she remembers especially well happened after Volunteer Services received four donated tickets to a Sounders game. Miggie was tasked with making sure they went to a soccer fan. One day, a patient’s husband who was an out-of-state soccer coach approached the desk. “I was sitting there looking at these tickets wondering how I was going to do that, when [he] approached and asked if we ever got Sounders tickets. When I offered him the tickets he had tears in his eyes! It was incredibly rewarding to make such a difference in someone’s day.”

hardcandyLast year, Guest Services desk volunteers made 685 escorts to other clinic areas and distributed 4,430 donated tickets. When Miggie isn’t volunteering she spends time gardening, cooking, or renovating a 100-year old house. Her enthusiasm towards volunteering sets a great example for new volunteers and provides a positive experience for the patients. “I want to make sure I give people something to look forward to even if it’s just a piece of candy.”

You can learn more about Miggie’s treatment for pancreatic cancer here.

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    3 Comments

    1. Ramiro Gutierrez
      Posted October 30, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Thank you Miggie for all you do to help our patients! Your service is very much appreciated and is emblematic of the SCCA’s mission.

    2. Maria Rowland
      Posted October 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      I have been working at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for 2 years, and I have seen so many miracles happen here. I think that this may be the best Cancer Center in the world. Our patients are important to us in may ways, they are not just a number or account. in my 30+ years in the medical field, I have never seen the amount of caring and personal bonding between staff and patients. I make a point to know all my patient’s by name, even though we see up to 196 patients a day, in the infusion department. I probably see my patients more than my family, and even if you don’t want to you bond with them and they become part of our Seattle cancer family.

    3. Charlie Pieterick
      Posted November 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      It warms my heart to see your smiling face at the volunteer desk, Miggie. Thank you for the rays of hope, big or small, and always bright and shiny, you shed on our patients and staff whenever you are here!

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