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'Grandpa Bob' gives time to children's hospital

Jefferson Award-winner Bob Bolling
February 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
He is "Grandpa Bob" to the dozens of children in the pediatric ward at Miller Children's Hospital. Bob Bolling, 72, is the head "grandparent" volunteer at the hospital in Long Beach.

"The whole program is just to provide attention, love, tenderness to the kids," said Bolling.

He helped Roselia Molina's daughter Cindy get through six months of dealing with chronic pain from a hernia.

"Sometimes my daughter cries because she has tubes inside and she cries all day. He visits my daughter. He's an angel for me," said Molina.

His reward is the inspiration he receives.

Bolling said it's heartbreaking to know not every child makes it, that's why sharing special moments are so precious.

He has learned children who are seriously ill have a lot to teach. He recalls one visit with a young girl who had cystic fibrosis.

"I said, 'Do you mind if I sit down?' I said, 'My knees are hurting today.' She said, 'That's OK. That's one of the nice things about knowing you're going to die young.' She says 'I'll never have to worry about the pain of getting old,'" said Bolling.

Grandparent volunteers like Bob are there to offer love, care and support to pediatric patients. But he also offers his services to nurses and parents. They all say what he does for them is invaluable.

Pediatric nurse Toni Dyer nominated Bob for the Jefferson Award because of his ability to connect and his sincerity.

"He's remarkable but he has given up his retirement to do these amazing things for the children here at this hospital," said Dyer.

"As long as I'm able to walk and talk, I'll be doing this," said Bolling.

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