Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community

Why I volunteer at Stanford

Summer 2008

Play eases the anxiety of Bernard Dannenberg's young patient.


Bob Upham moved to the Peninsula from the East Coast two years ago for a position at Yahoo!, where he is the director of business development for Yahoo! Geo and Maps. He is on the board of the Yahoo! Employee Foundation, chairs its fundraising committee and serves on the Yahoo! for Good grants committee. Upham has been a volunteer at Stanford Hospital & Clinics for the past year and a half and is currently a lead volunteer in the Emergency Department.

Why I volunteer at Stanford

After many years in philanthropy, I decided two years ago to begin a new kind of giving: hands-on. I wanted to do something that would make a difference on an individual level. I chose Stanford Hospital & Clinics because of its excellent reputation. Now I volunteer two evenings a week in the Emergency Department, doing whatever I can to free the nurses, doctors and staff so they can concentrate on patient care.

During the day I have a demanding job at Yahoo!, but in the evenings I clean beds, move gurneys, make sure patients have warm blankets or a glass of water. A lot of people are alone and in pain, or are scared or lonely. I have the time to talk to them and to try to make them feel more comfortable. 

When you contribute money, you can’t always see quick results. As a volunteer, you are personally involved and the satisfaction is immediate. Volunteering re-energizes me, even when I’ve had a long day at work. Though I often work late and travel a good deal, I still find time to volunteer. It has improved my quality of life—it balances everything else. I look back on the years I was serving on boards, attending galas or writing checks, and I realize now that I could have been doing this all along as well.

Some people think they don’t have the time. Others might be afraid to serve. Before I came to Stanford, it never would have occurred to me to volunteer cleaning beds. But this kind of service is in all of us. We just don’t recognize it.

For me, the most powerful transformation was that moment when, without even thinking about it, I moved from volunteering to make myself feel good to volunteering because I’m needed. And I know that I’m needed.

Volunteering at Stanford Hospital—in the Emergency Department, gift shop, Cancer Center, spiritual care, Health Library or in one of the clinics—provides the same palpable benefits. I feel lucky to be a volunteer here. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Stanford Hospital team.

Become a volunteer

Volunteers play a critical role in the hospitals’ mission to deliver high-quality patient care and make a tremendous difference in the lives of patients, families, caregivers and staff.

« Back to Contents

Footer Links: