Jennifer's Heroes: Janelle Lee, UVa Medical Center Catering Associate

By: Jennifer Black Email
By: Jennifer Black Email

May 27, 2010

A patient at the University of Virginia Medical Center submitted an email nominating this week's hero, Janelle Lee, or as he called her, 'Light n' Bright'.

Lee works as a catering associate at the UVa Medical Center, working tirelessly to make sure the food she delivers to patients looks and tastes appetizing. When Lee delivers meals, she has a tray in her hands and her heart on a sleeve.

"Sometimes you can come into work and there might be days where you don't feel like working, but once you get on your floor and you see your patients, they automatically put a smile on your face," said Lee.

Lee serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between; it's not uncommon for her to visit one room more than a dozen times a day.

"If you go in the room with them and if you talk to them, they never talk about the sickness," said Lee.

Working on a cardiac floor, Lee encounters patients with special dietary needs. Many of her patients can't have salty or fatty foods. However, Janelle tries to make not to make it about what they can't have, but rather about what they can have.

"I take them ice cream, popsicles and extra jello, and they like it," said Lee.

Lee gets her nurturing spirit from spending time with the dozens of foster children she has taken into her home over the past few years. She finds parallels between the foster children she takes care of and the patients she caters to at work.

"It's rewarding. You see [the kids and patients] come in sad, and you see them leaving happy," she said.

This week's hero has a heart that shines light a bright through service at home and in the hospital.

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