Mercy Stories

Compassionate Care, Wrapped with a Cuddle

Mar 22 2018

Cuddling infants is just one way we provide compassionate care — learn how one volunteer goes the extra mile.

Volunteers are an important role at our facilities thanks to the additional support they provide patients every day. One particular volunteer at Mercy Health Children’s Hospital in Toledo is very special to our youngest patients.

Sister Cecile Sakaley spends many hours cuddling and holding newborn babies in the neonatal intensive care unit and well infant nursery. In addition to being a full-time employee at Mercy Health, she volunteers as a cuddler two Saturday mornings each month.

Alongside other volunteers, Cecile roams the unit and listens for a baby to “speak up.” Cuddling infants doesn’t just support staff; it helps in newborn development as well. This is especially important to babies with opioid addictions.

Sister Cecile is known for taking the extra step in her role. She creates name cards for all the newborns and provides parents the opportunity to make a scrapbook for their baby. In pediatrics, she helps children with homework. She offers support to young patients who are alone and accompanies therapy dog owners visiting pediatric patients.

She 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.

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.”

At Mercy Health, compassionate care is at the core of all we do. Visit or call 513-952-5000 to learn more about Mercy Health Children’s Hospital or one of our other facilities today.

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Bonnue Nadaud

I live in Brown County, Ohio 45171 Is this being done near me??? Any info available would be appreciated!! Bonnie Nadaud
March 23rd, 2018 | 11:18am

Christina Miller

Would love to be a volunteer to cuddle babies.
March 24th, 2018 | 12:14pm

Lora Johnson

I would love to volunteer to cuddle babies in the Toledo area. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time and now I have the time to do it.
March 26th, 2018 | 5:40pm

Lori Mathews

I would be a perfect cuddle volunteer! My children and children in-laws call me the 'baby whisperer'. Please contact me with any needs for this wonderful opportunity.
March 27th, 2018 | 7:45pm

Mercy Health

Hi Lori, Lora, Christina, and Bonnue! Thanks for your interest. You can learn more and apply for volunteer opportunities here:
April 02nd, 2018 | 9:46am

Linda Collins

I'm a nurse doing long term care three days a week. I would love being on the other side Helping a child. I live in Elyria Ohio. Let me know how I could look further into this. Thank you.
April 05th, 2018 | 11:12pm

Mercy Health

Hi Linda! Please visit the following link: We're looking forward to being in touch soon!
April 11th, 2018 | 10:01am

Eric Johnson

It's a great article and an entire system of prevention and proactive measures, and I Would love to be a volunteer to cuddle babies."
May 08th, 2018 | 4:08pm

Saundra Bushovisky

This site is absolutely fabulous!
May 17th, 2018 | 10:30am

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