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Matt Byrne brings hope to pediatric patients

Byrne's general rule of thumb is to comfort those children who have no family beside them. Because University Hospital is regional, it's not uncommon for families to travel a distance.

"Sooner or later someone's got to go home to get back to work and that sort of thing," he said, which was the case with the boy he helped, who came out of the coma.

Byrne said his faith is his strong force. He informally quoted his favorite Bible scripture which is Matthew 25:33-40. In essence, it's about taking care of others.

"If you can calm a child down, or get him happy, or get their mind off their troubles, then it's worthwhile," he said. "It's time well spent."

Looking to volunteer?

University Hospital has about 500 volunteers and advocates, according to Donna Stoner, director of volunteer initiatives. They are always looking for more help, she said. There are more than 35 areas for volunteers to work at University, including post-surgery, heart attack wards, pediatrics and so forth.

Stoner said the ideal candidate is someone who is willing to commit over time. The reason? People look forward to seeing you, she said, and they count on you to come back.

The typical time commitment is two to four hours per week. Continual training and support is provided.

Applicants go through an application process that includes an interview and brief health assessment.

For more information, visit upstate.edu or call 464-5180.

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