Skip to main content

Compassionate care wrapped by a cuddle

Volunteers are an important role at our facilities and our patients benefit most from this additional support. One particular volunteering role at Mercy Health – Children’s Hospital is very special to our youngest patients. In her role of “Mission and Family Services” Sister Cecile Sakaley spends many hours cuddling and holding newborn babies in NICU and the Well Infant Nursery. In addition to being a full-time employee she volunteers as a Cuddler in NICU two Saturday mornings each month. While roaming the unit, if a baby “speaks up,” our volunteers, like Cecile, respond to the call. Cuddling newborns help in their development and supports the staff. It’s especially important to babies with opioid addictions. Sister Cecile takes her role one step further by creating name cards for all the babies. Sister Cecile also cares for long term Labor and Delivery patients by transporting them to Maternal Fetal Medicine for early morning ultrasounds before out-patients start arriving. She also provides the opportunity for them to make a scrapbook for their baby. In Pediatrics she helps children with homework, offers support to very young patients who are alone, and accompanies therapy dog owners visiting PEDS patients.

In her ninth year in Mission and Family Services for Pediatrics, NICU and Labor and Delivery, Sister Cecile certainly brings compassionate care to our patients.

Michelle Sonnenberg, mother to NICU twin boys Kaleb and Kody, stated, “Having this resource – it’s great. We are very thankful we chose to come here. You can tell they’re here for the children. The support is incredible.”

If you are interested in volunteering at Mercy Health Children’s Hospital, please contact Megan Quimby at