With every hug and wiped tear, this MCH volunteer is making a difference

Leonie Mikael is a research associate in Medical Genetics at the Montreal Children’s Hospital but she also gives her time to the Children’s in another way: by volunteering. 
“Every Saturday morning I am at the hospital by 7:30 a.m. ready to start my shift with baby cuddling,” says Mikael, who has been volunteering for 15 years providing basic care to children such as bathing, feeding, changing, playing, rocking and convincing them to take their medication. “I volunteer in the General Medicine wards and sometimes in the Neonatal ICU.” 
According to Mikael, because she has been around for a while the nurses have come to count on her. “It is so nice to be surrounded by people who know and appreciate you—I really get so much more out of this than I put in.” 
As a 5-month old, Mikael herself was hospitalized in a NICU and hooked up to a ventilator for weeks. “There was a chance I would not pull through, but I did and I have always been thankful for that care I received. I guess this is my way of giving back but I also love being around kids,” she says. “I am not kidding myself—I know I am not changing the world; but with every tear I wipe away, every feeding tube I clean, every baby I rock to sleep, I do know I am making a difference.”