A band of volunteers "Blue Angels," supporting patients and their relatives at Okmeydanı Training and Research Hospital, have been lending a hand to those undergoing cancer treatments in the oncology department of the hospital for 34 years.
The volunteer group among which are some cancer survivors, says that the biggest prize they receiver is blessings from the patients.
One of the "Blue Angels," Fehime Yılmaz, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that she has been a member for 23 or 24 years and she only expects a blessing from the patients.
Explaining that she is a cancer survivor, Yılmaz said: "We come to the hospital at 7:30 in the morning and leave at three in the afternoon. The things we do during the day are very special for patients. Since they come hungry and need to take medicine or drink water, we serve water, tea and simit to them between 10 and 10:30 a.m. They both appease their hunger and also take their medicine with the water we give them. We are happy to be here. They also look forward to seeing us.
"I am an oncology patient, as well. I had some medical operations 25 years ago and underwent chemotherapy. Then, I thought why not help the patients in a worse situation than I was. We expect just one thing from our patients, to hear them say may God bless you. If we hear that, there are no happier people than us. Before anything else, we get their love since they give us back much more in return for our love," she said.
She explained that they work together with 68 volunteers in the group, and continued: "We come here in different groups every day. We sometimes get ill and can't come. Those who want to be a Blue Angel should present their conscience first. The biggest condition of the Blue Angels is love and respect for others. We always do our work willingly. We don't receive any payment or salary. Every expense we pay is our opportunity."
Yılmaz said that patients can easily make connections with them and make themselves understood.
Prefacing they visit the acute inpatient ward every day, Yılmaz said: "We listen to their problems and try to cheer them up. I tell them I was also a cancer patient. It has been 25 years and I have been holding firm. I am here for you. You can join us after healing."
The youngest member of the "Blue Angels," İpek Erim, said that she heard about the organization in a family meeting a year and a half ago. "I am really happy to help people. When we are at home, we don't recognize [the need]. However, there are a lot of people who are in need of help. I think I made the right decision. This is a very beautiful, meaningful place," Erim said.