If everyone had the same philosophy in life as Huey Blake, the volunteer office at Cardinal Glennon would be the busiest place in St. Louis.
“If someone does something nice for me, I want to return that favor—either to them or to someone else,” Huey said.
For two years now, Huey has spent four days every week at Cardinal Glennon, repaying what he considers a significant favor. He puts in six- to eight-hour days volunteering in either the Bob Costas Cancer Center or upstairs in the playrooms with the children.
If you ask him why he gives so much of his own time, Huey’s answer is always: “Someone did it for me.”
When he was four years old, Huey spent two years at the hospital receiving treatment for a brain tumor. Huey happily points out that he’s been cancer-free for 30 years now, but he will never forget the compassion he received while he was here.
“When I was in the hospital, a lot of people came out to see me,” Huey said. “Volunteers took their time to come play with me and sit with me. That meant a lot.”
Now, Huey means a lot to the kids and to Cardinal Glennon.
“He’s here four days a week playing with the patients and their siblings, and he does it with a smile on his face,” said Pat Wiseman, director of Volunteer Services. “He’s committed, he’s caring and fun, and he has that quiet strength that makes him not only an exceptional volunteer but an amazing young man. To know Huey is to love him, and you can see the connection he has with our patients, our families, our staff and the volunteers.”
These days, you can find Huey playing games or putting on puppet shows for kids in the Costas Center or the upstairs playrooms. During the summer, you’ll find him working as a staff member at Camp Rainbow.
“I like to see the smiles on the kids’ faces,” Huey said. “I know what they’re going through. It’s tough.”
For 20 years, Huey has helped at Camp Rainbow. It is his hope to reach that many years volunteering at Cardinal Glennon as well.
“My goal is 20 years, but I may do more,” Huey said.