Teen volunteer helps the hospital that helped him

(WBIR-Downtown Knoxville) An East Tennessee high school student with a heart for volunteering has found an opportunity that helps the place he volunteers as well as himself.

Twice a week, Joey Bolden spends time at the Thompson Cancer Survival Center at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. Volunteer coordinator Paula Minhinnett is happy to have him.

"His guidance counselor at Seymour High School called and she said we have a student who would like to come and volunteer because he wants to be a doctor. He would like to be an oncologist," she explained.

Joey Bolden said, "To get experience in the medical field because I want to go into the medical field and just help others like they helped me."

Others helped him when he was just a toddler. Joey Bolden is a cancer survivor.

"I was 18 months old. I was diagnosed with infantile fibrosarcoma. It's a really rare cancer that involves the tissue, the muscle, the tendons. I was diagnosed with it in my foot," he said.

Family photos show his swollen foot. He went to six different doctors before he got an accurate diagnosis of the rare cancer. Surgeons removed the fast growing cancer. For years after that, until he was 13, Joey had follow up care at the same place he now volunteers. It is the same place where he was monitored with magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.

"I go down to MRI and I collect paper work and make sure they're comfortable down there and just pretty much help them any way however they need help," he said.

Paula said, "He is a great volunteer."

Joey feels a connection to the patients getting MRIs because he's had so many over the years. Volunteering at the familiar place seems to be a perfect fit.

Paula said, "We try to help the young students who come in with their career goals and most of them want some experience in a hospital with patients and with staff so that they can attain that."

Joey said, "I want to help people like they helped me. I was to diagnose those rare cancers. I want to do the best for a lot of patients."

He was once a patient, is now a volunteer, and plans to one day be a doctor. Maybe at the Thompson Cancer Survival Center.


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