February 03, 2010
Cancer survivor, hospital volunteer plans career in medicine
Hinsdale – After being diagnosed with cancer as a child, Julie Turgeon spent much time in the hospital. Now, as a cancer survivor, the Hinsdale Central High School senior spends two hours every Sunday at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, where she is a junior volunteer.
The 18-year-old Westmont resident hopes to pursue a career in medicine; she aims to be a pediatrician. Recently she was named the hospital’s junior volunteer of the month. She has accumulated more than 120 hours of volunteer service over the last two years.
Turgeon was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was in eighth grade. The cancer is gone, she said, but her desire to share her abilities with others is not. She first worked in the emergency department and is now volunteers in the maternity ward, where her duties include opening and closing doors for visitors, handing out food trays and doing whatever else the nurses need.
She has also spent part of the last two summers volunteering overseas, rebuilding the walls of a school in Costa Rica and working inside an orphanage in Guatemala. All of her volunteer experiences, coupled with her background – her family is from Belgium and the family speaks French at home, although Turgeon was born in the U.S. – have given her greater insight and compassion regarding the needs of others.
“My experiences have really opened my eyes to how people live,” Turgeon said. “It’s really rewarding knowing I changed something for the better or made someone’s day a little brighter just by being there.”
Said Jennifer Swanson, coordinator of the junior volunteers: “Julie has a heart for service and does so much to help out.”
To volunteer at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, call (630) 856-4000.