“I got involved with UNC Hospitals as soon as I got to campus,” he explains. Herodes is the first in his family to attend college.
“I had a clinical job in Burnett-Womack to help me pay tuition, but I wanted more direct patient interaction.” Herodes began volunteering at the Patient and Family Resource Center in the N.C. Cancer Hospital. “It was a really good experience,” he says.
He then volunteered for the next three years in the N.C. Children’s Hospital Pediatric Playroom and with Carolina PALS (Pediatric Attention Love and Support). He served as a hospital school tutor for his “pal” and for other pediatric patients. “The children are amazing.”
When it came time for his medical school interview, he says, “I had learned a lot and knew the hospital really well. The interview wasn’t difficult because everything I talked about was from what I had done in the hospital just the day before.”
The aspiring physician has spoken with many patients through his volunteer experience. Herodes faces his own medical challenge. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just before coming to UNC. “I go into the hospital, specifically working with children, and even if I’m having a bad day, am exhausted form studying or having a problem with my diabetes, I see the patients who go through so much but still have smiles on their faces. It is really humbling. They give me perspective. If those little kids can do it, so can I.”
Herodes wanted to support these young heroes with his senior gift. “I have seen firsthand that they have and need a lot of support to live a ‘normal’ life while being treated for their cancer. I was impressed by all the resources—the games, computers, attention of the staff—and I know that donations made them possible. That’s why I chose to make my gift there.”