In 2014, Frank San Fellipo lost his wife to ovarian cancer.
She was diagnosed in 2007 and referred to Carroll Hospital's old cancer center, where, San Fellipo said, she received incredible care.
"The staff, the nurses, the doctors were again, very good, compassionate [and] knowledgeable," he said.
And for that reason, San Fellipo added, he knew he had to volunteer at the hospital's cancer center.
"And that's why I just solely came over here to work for them to give back to them for the care that they gave her," he said. "They were wonderful."
San Fellipo, of Eldersburg, has been a volunteer at the hospital since 2010, though he started volunteering in the William E. Kahlert Regional Cancer Center in November of 2014. Prior to that, he worked for the Department of Defense until he retired in 2008.
He works in the registration office and primarily greets patients, lets the registration staff know patients are there and walks those coming in for treatment over to the waiting area. San Fellipo said over the years as he's volunteered, he's developed "quite a bond" with many of the patients.
"I can understand what they're going through," he said, because his wife was once a patient, too.
San Fellipo said while it might be hard for some to regularly be around those dealing with cancer, for him, it's comforting. The staff is like a second family, he added.
They have taken him under their wings, and given him support through a difficult journey. And in turn, San Fellipo can help support others through their difficult journeys.
"It gives me some self satisfaction knowing that I am helping both the staff that work so hard and the patients," he said. "Just to see the smile on their faces when they greet me ... hopefully I'm giving them some comfort by giving them a smile or a hello or a few words of encouragement."
Bobbie Pratt, of Taneytown, has been volunteering in the cancer center for about four years. Like San Fellipo, she wanted to find a way to give back.
Cancer has affected people she's known, she said, but she felt drawn to this type of volunteerism as a former nurse.
"I just felt like I had the time and the ability to do something to give back to people," she said.
Pratt's duties are different than San Fellipo's — she interacts with patients receiving treatment, helping them, and the nurses, in any way they need, be it getting extra blankets or pillows, wiping down equipment or just being there to talk to someone.
A lot of people who come in stay for five or six hours at a time, she said, and a lot of times they're alone.
"Sometimes [I'm] just sitting and talking. People need that," she added.
Pratt also said she has built some relationships with patients she sees week after week, or patients who have come in for treatment multiple times. She volunteers on Friday afternoons.
But, she said, it can be tough to get close with patients who are fighting a cancer battle.
"We don't as volunteers usually know patient's names. I don't know if it was really planned that way. In a way that's good. In a way it might not be so good, I don't know," she added.
What she does know, is she will continue to be there for them, and to volunteer at the hospital, for as long as she physically can.
San Fellipo echoed those thoughts. He typically volunteers two full days, and two half days each week, although he'll pick up extra time if it's needed.
And, he said, he hopes to keep lending a hand for as long as he possibly can.
"I will be here, good Lord willing," San Fellipo said. "As long as my health stays good, I will be here."