Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Volunteer Follows Medical Career Dream Inspired by Son's Cancer Battle

Volunteers play a vital role at our local Snoqualmie Valley Hospital (SVH), contributing more than 200 hours of service each month. They provide assistance to patients, their families and the community and help us fulfill our mission to safeguard the health of our community.

Volunteers serve in many capacities: providing clerical and office support, assisting with community events and special projects, helping with patient activities and serving as advocates for the hospital, patients and their families.

One volunteer, Volkmar Gaussmann, began volunteering last January to fulfill his Bellevue College pre-med student requirement and increase his medical field  experience. He plans to become a pediatric hospitalist.

“Every pre-med student has to volunteer at a hospital to show their interest in medicine,” Gaussmann said. “I chose Snoqualmie Valley Hospital because I couldn’t see myself in a larger hospital where I might not have as many opportunities to help out.”

Volkmar volunteers about 3 hours per week at SVH, helping out in many ways – like filing, consolidating medical records, assisting with individual staff projects and helping keep track of volunteer hours.

“I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve helped with at Snoqualmie Valley Hospital and everyone I have worked with,” he said. “It’s been good to learn what else goes on in a hospital setting besides patient care.”

Medicine wasn’t always a dream for Gaussmann, though. Then in 2004, he and his wife learned their 14 month son had kidney cancer. The couple spent countless hours at Seattle Children’s Hospital, watching their son endure various tests and surgery. The experience made Gaussmann realize medicine was the right path for him.

“At the time, I remember thinking how sad I was that I would never get to know him – what he likes, what sports he wants to play and what he wants to be when he grows up,” he said. “Now, he’s 9 years old, healthy and plans to be an architect.”

Good News!  Volkmar was recently accepted into the medical program at the University of Washington School of Medicine, putting him one step closer to his medical career dream.

“I want to be able to help other children the way the doctors and staff helped my son,” he said. “I’m just happy I can live my dream. Who wouldn’t want to do this?”

To learn more about the SVH volunteer program email Shawn Boynton, Volunteer Coordinator, at, call 425-831-2300 ext. 145, or visit

Snoqualmie Valley HospitalVolkmar Gaussmann stops long enough for a photo at Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, where he volunteers about three hours per week. Photo by By Lindsey Oliver
Snoqualmie Valley Hospital
Volkmar Gaussmann stops long enough for a photo at Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, where he volunteers about three hours per week. Photo by By Lindsey Oliver

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