Alexis Nichol was born three months premature, weighing only 1 pound, 15 ounces. She spent the first 72 days of her life in the NICU. Over the past six years, Alexis has been a patient at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s (CHoR) Brook Road Campus. The team of doctors, physical therapists and occupational therapsists at CHoR help Alexis manage living with spastic triplesic cerebral palsy. Alexis has been on campus a lot more frequently lately…but it isn’t to receive therapy. Alexis is on campus as a first year Junior Volunteer.CHoR offers volunteer programs for teens (ages 14-17) and adults. As a teen with a disability, Alexis easily relates to patients. On her first day, Alexis befriended Iceis, a patient in the Transitional Care Unit who was feeling defeated by her limitations. Alexis, understanding the difficulties of a disability, urged Iceis to focus on the positive: all of the things she could do, such as participate in thoughtful conversations with others, being able to play, and most importantly to Alexis, being able to educate others about disabilities. Every day that she volunteers, she makes a point of checking in with her new friend to give her a boost of her positive outlook on life.Iceis is grateful for a volunteer who can relate to her, saying “it is nice to be able to talk to someone else with a disability because you both understand what you’re going through on a daily basis.”Alexis, whose life motto is, “you can and you will,” views her volunteering not as a kind act, but as a way of living. She volunteers because she can, which as a child with a disability, is something she believes she should be grateful for. Alexis believes a disability is what you make of it and hopes to relay that message to current patients at CHoR. She also dreams of eventually spreading this message to people outside of the Richmond area through motivational speaking. Although proud of her, Alexis’ parents wish they could take away her cerebral palsy, but Alexis views her disability as an opportunity to help others.“I know I’m here for a reason. This is my purpose,” says Alexsis.We are thankful for volunteers like Alexis who help brighten our patients’ days. Click here to learn more about our volunteer programs.