The recipient of this week’s Ben’s Bell is Joe Dimercurio.
Dimercurio, a volunteer at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, was nominated by Emmitt Warner, whose wife receives chemotherapy treatments at the center.
Dimercurio’s wife received treatments at the center, and after her death he began volunteering at the center in February 2010, Warner wrote in his nomination letter.
When Dimercurio started volunteering, he learned that patients receiving chemo treatments needed someone to talk to and something to eat, because their treatments could last for several hours.
“He bakes tons and tons of cookies and passes those around, plus he has fruit that he picks up; he has a cart and he starts going through the wards and he’ll stop and talk to people,” Warner said. “He seems to have a sense of when somebody needs to have somebody sit down and shoot the breeze with them a little bit.”
Dimercurio brings the treats twice a week, and if patients’ treatment extends into lunchtime, he takes their lunch orders and picks up food for them in the cafeteria, Warner wrote.
“The nurses are extremely helpful and cheerful, but you still see people in the last stages of life and it’s kind of depressing, and Joe really lightens things up,” Warner said.