Returning the favor

Adam Stelmach volunteers twice a week in Henry Mayo’s Acute Rehabilitation Unit. “I want to help others who want to get better,” Adam said. “I want to make life easier for them.”

This desire is personal for Adam. He knows exactly what it’s like to be in the rehabilitation unit because it is where he did physical therapy only a few years ago.

Adam fell from a parking structure and suffered nearly fatal head injuries in 2008. He was rushed to Henry Mayo’s emergency department and placed in a medically induced coma.

After the accident, the right side of Adam’s body was paralyzed and his brain functioning was impaired — but he felt lucky. “I am grateful to Henry Mayo for saving my life,” Adam said.

Multiple surgeries and years of physical therapy helped Adam fully recover. “Everyone is amazed by my current condition and how close I am to the way I was,” Adam said.

Adam earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2015, and he credits the accomplishment to the care he received at Henry Mayo and the support of his family and friends. It’s among the many reasons why he wants to return the favor.

Deva Metz has a similar experience in 2014 when she nearly died from complications related to her autoimmune disease. She was in a coma at Henry Mayo for three days and then transferred to the intensive care unit. “This was a life-changing experience, and many people at Henry Mayo pulled me through,” Deva said.

When she came to, Deva immediately knew she wanted to come back and volunteer her time. “I had an overwhelming sense that I wanted to pay them back,” Deva said. “I made a goal that after my recovery, I would come back and see how I could help.”

So far, Deva has volunteered over 600 hours of her time to Henry Mayo. She helps out with everything from stocking and selling things in the gift shop to running programs to destress nursing staff.  “It feeds my heart, mind, and soul,” Deva said.

“What this hospital does for the community and how it affects people’s lives is immeasurable. I’m so grateful to have the honor of volunteering here.”

Read more about volunteering at Henry Mayo.

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