My Volunteer Experience

I am a full-time mom of two active boys, and consider myself very fortunate to volunteer with such an amazing organization. My son once asked me, "mommy why do you care? Why do you care about those kids?” Such innocent questions, but it really made me think about why I do this. I told him I volunteer because I want to make a difference in a child’s life.

It seems that MAHAK, a children’s cancer organization, has always been a part of my life, but I wasn’t able to help them directly. For the past 18 years, my family and I have donated money to MAHAK. Once ISCC was founded, I had the ability and privilege to personally get involved with MAHAK. I attended several ISCC fundraising events. Last year, I volunteered at the Bazaar, a Persian new year’s celebration fundraiser, which was a life-altering experience. The energy and camaraderie in the room was contagious. Everyone worked with so much love for the children suffering from cancer.

A few months later, I was contacted by Showleh Tolbert, ISCC’s executive director, to be part of the committee for the 2011 Bazaar. As a committee member, I realized that the Bazaar could not happen without each and every one of our volunteers. These caring individuals worked tirelessly to make decorative eggs, candles, homemade jam, pickles and a variety of Persian desserts. There were others who worked at the ISCC office day and night, helping us to prepare for the big event. It is our compassionate and dedicated volunteers that made the Bazaar a success.

Paddi Sharifian

In Essence, I Saw Hope

For the past four years, I have had the privilege and fortune of serving as a volunteer for the International Society for Children With Cancer.

What prompted me to join ISCC was personal experience -- in 2008, my beautiful grand-daughter spent 54 days in the hospital, struggling each day to survive. I felt first-hand the pain of watching a child I love suffer; I felt the anxiety and helplessness of standing by and waiting with nothing more than hopes and prayers. Fortunately, my story had a happy ending.

Since then I have been committed to working towards helping ease the strains on children suffering from cancer and their families. These children and families are trying to cope not only with the emotional burdens of serious illness, but also the financial strains of treatment. ISCC works towards alleviating both.

Since becoming a volunteer with ISCC, I have twice visited MAHAK hospital in Iran. There, I saw the children and families that ISCC works for. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. I expected to visit a typical charity hospital, with muted walls and a sense of heaviness. Instead, I witnessed caring doctors and nurses with smiles and encouraging words, walls decorated with children's artwork, and a highly specialized pediatric hospital offering the latest technology for detecting and treating pediatric cancer.

In essence, I saw hope. It revitalized me and reminded me of the impact that ISCC has on the lives of these special children and their families. I encourage anyone visiting Iran to take the time and go to the MAHAK hospital - I am confident it will have the same impact on every visitor.

I feel very blessed to be able to volunteer with such an amazing organization and work with a group of people who put such heart and energy into this humanitarian effort. I hope to be able to do more with ISCC in the future, and be as helpful as I can be. For I have realized that whatever energy I contribute, I get back so much more.

Azam Abdollahi

The best therapeutic experience of my life

I consider myself very fortunate to have been a part of ISCC. It is a blessing to be on the giving end and just receive the pleasure of serving the children with cancer. One can only imagine what they go through and for me being a part of this team and creating the possibility to help them has helped me live a fulfilling life.

Shahrzad Ardalan