Stella's Volunteer StoryJun 6, 2019
Stella Cerreta, volunteer, Coastal Carolina Hospital
“It’s a happy place to work and to volunteer.”
All it took was a London native delivering an all-American dessert to boost the spirits of one Coastal Carolina Hospital patient.
“A couple of months ago, we had an elderly patient who was upset and did not want to be in the hospital,” shares British-born Stella Cerreta, an emergency department volunteer for the last seven years. “She did not want her breakfast or to watch television. All she really wanted was a piece of apple pie.”
Just a few bites of the baked good flipped a switch in the patient. Stella looks back on the experience with justifiable pride.
“The patient started to open up and she was talking to us about her family and her church. It was just a miracle transformation,” she says. “Sometimes we think that medicine is going to cure all our ailments, but in this instance it was apple pie that did the trick. It gives you a good feeling that you can make people happy. And if we can just pick up some pieces and help a little bit, then that’s what we do.”
A former employee of three different major international airlines, Stella has lived in South Carolina for 13 years with her husband. The climate and community were major factors when the couple was deciding on a place to retire.
“We’ve been vacationing here for many years since our daughter was young,” she says. “We’ve always enjoyed it. We like the beach, the sun, the weather. The people are nice and friendly.”
Soon after Stella signed up as a volunteer at Coastal Carolina Hospital, she was assigned to the emergency department. Despite the challenging schedule, she has managed to make lasting memories for her patients.
“I’ve enjoyed it because it’s very busy and it’s very rewarding,” she says. “The time flies by, and I feel like I’m contributing to help people and give back to the community.”
Stella understands firsthand how important it is to receive excellent medical care, having experienced a medical issue of her own a few years ago.
“One time I came in with bruised muscles, and I was in a lot of pain and I was very impressed with how fast the service was and how caring it was. It was just amazing,” she says. “The doctors and nurses form a well-knit team. It’s just amazing to see how fast they move and take care of a particular patient.”
To those who have considered volunteering, Stella says, “Just see where you fit in. It’s very rewarding and very satisfying. It’s a great group of people to work with, the staff, the medical professionals and the other volunteers. We have a little social scene here. It’s a happy place to work and to volunteer.”