Shelle Winkler is a bubbly, enthusiastic and inspiring person that has more to give than she knows. Her volunteer work and attitude towards children are a perfect fit for the Chemo Pal Program at the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA)
The Pediatric Chemo Pal Mentor program for children and teens breaks through the isolation, chaos and loneliness of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments by providing trusted, dependable and carefully matched mentors. This program’s purpose is to provide a supportive relationship, ensuring that each child maintains self-esteem and confidence throughout the emotionally isolating and physically difficult. The Chemo Pal volunteer provides support and guidance through dependable visits in the midst of the lonely battle against cancer. These mentors visit hospitals, clinics and homes to play games, take walks, read, do art projects or share hobbies.
Shelle has been matched twice: with two-year-old Naomi and most recently, with three-year-old Douglas. Shelle’s nurturing personality was what originally drew her to CCA and she loves the positive energy she is able to give to the children. When Shelle was matched with Naomi, Naomi would refer to her as “teacher” and they enjoyed playing with stick-on dolls, Play-Do and art activities. Douglas is a three year old twin, so Shelle often plays with both boys. They are very mechanical and enjoy anything with wheels, building structures and playing in the park. Shelle now knows more about cement mixers than she could have ever imagined! Douglas asks for her whenever he goes to the hospital and his face lights up when she walks into the room. She is just the special friend that Douglas needed during this difficult time.
Though she is directly making an impact in the lives of two young people, the staff and other volunteers are inspired by the compassion and genuine concern Shelle has for the children as well as her dedication to the Chemo Pal Program.