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Personal Experience Motivates Young Volunteer at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital

When 19-year-old Sarah Seabolt’s grandmother suffered a stroke, the experience was eye-opening and career changing. The West Chicago teenager was planning to become a nurse, but after witnessing the compassionate care her grandmother received from the team at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, a part of Northwestern Medicine, Seabolt decided to pursue a physical therapy career.

As she prepares to begin the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at Elgin Community College in the fall, Seabolt is volunteering at Marianjoy to gain experience and give back to the same team that helped her grandmother heal.

“The entire team at Marianjoy was amazing, reassuring my grandmother and helping her reach her goals,” said Seabolt. “She experienced some paralysis from the stroke and was coming home to recover with my family, so the physical and occupational therapists trained my mother and me on how to care for her.”

Marianjoy Volunteer Sarah SeaboltSeabolt created a workout board for her grandmother at home to chart her exercises and keep her on track. She says her grandmother finds validation in checking off every exercise and it motivates her to regain her physical abilities.

“Sarah was inspired by how our therapists focus on the mind, body and spirit of our patients, providing limitless encouragement,” said Allison Macfarlane, Volunteer Services manager at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, a part of Northwestern Medicine. “I see the same thing in Sarah. Her passion is a standout quality of her service.”

In her volunteer role at Marianjoy, Seabolt helps clean equipment in the inpatient gyms and assists the therapists by gathering and arranging equipment. Her favorite part is interacting with patients and staff.

“What I enjoy most is the peace and unity between the patients and the staff. It is difficult to see people go through a major illness. However, it is compelling to watch how the compassion and skill of the therapy teams help reassure patients to reach their goals,” said Seabolt.

During National Volunteer Week, April 17 to 23, Northwestern Medicine salutes volunteers who are essential to delivering patient-centered care and ensuring that every patient has an excellent experience. More than 900 Northwestern Medicine volunteers across the health system volunteered more than 111,000 hours of service in 2021 at 15 locations.

In addition, Northwestern Medicine employees also volunteer in the community. In Fiscal Year 2021, 840 Team NM volunteers logged more than 2,500 hours at 41 volunteer events.

Learn more about volunteering at Northwestern Medicine.