When you invite a friend into your home, you greet them at the door and welcome them in with a smile. Penn Medicine's Patient and Guest Service Ambassadors, donning their recognizable red coats, do just that for every patient that enters the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine (PCAM).
Louis Mello is second to none: his infectious smile, bubbly personality, and kind demeanor have a positive impact on every patient and family member who walks through the door.
It all started in 2015, when a friend saw an Ambassador position posted and suggested Louis apply. “You open doors for strangers. You are always smiling at everyone you see. And you have an uncanny ability to know exactly what you can do to help someone. This might be your calling,” recalls Louis of his friend’s words. His friend couldn’t have been more right.
“This is my dream job. Helping our patients helps me appreciate the important things in life, and truly understand how even just one person can make a difference and have a positive impact on others.”
Louis is a model Ambassador, full of passion and pride. “How many people get to say they love their job? I love helping people, and now I get to do that every day. It’s so rewarding to be part of making what can be some of the most challenging of times a little bit better,” Louis says.
Then, two years ago — as Louis was helping patients navigate their way around PCAM — he saw an information table for the Breakthrough Bike Challenge (BBC) and decided to get involved. "Like so many, I too, have lost someone close to me to cancer. That’s why it’s so important to me to treat everyone I see as if they were my family member or best friend," he reflects.
The Breakthrough Bike Challenge began in 2013 by a group of friends who, like Louis, wanted to take an active role in advancing cancer research. In its first year, the BBC raised over $50,000 to benefit lymphoma and brain tumor research. Today, the BBC has supported over 25 Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) researchers in 15 different areas and raised over $1,000,000.
For Louis, being part of the BBC is about giving back to the patients who have had such a profound impact on him. “I just want to help make their good days that much better, and their bad days a little less so, because they make all of my days count,” says Louis. “For me riding in the BBC is about them.”
The BBC allows Louis to combine his passion for giving back to the ACC with his love for riding bikes, which he does every day to and from work. In fact, he has ambitions to ride 1,000 miles in the month of July. Louis is committed to raising funds and advocacy for the BBC as part of the Beam of Life team. “I love being part of the Beam of Life team; the faculty in Radiation Oncology go above and beyond for patient care, and that’s what I try to do, too,” says Louis.
Join the Breakthrough Bike Challenge on September 15, 2019