Volunteering at Karmanos Cancer Institute

Volunteer at Karmanos Cancer Institute - Detroit & Farmington Hills

Volunteering for the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is a rewarding opportunity, giving you the chance to make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families. Since 1935, cancer patients in metropolitan Detroit have benefited from the care of thousands of our devoted volunteers.

We rely heavily on our caring volunteers throughout the community in many important capacities to further our work of eradicating cancer while improving the lives of those diagnosed with the disease.

If you are interested in volunteering please complete the online application.

Volunteer Positions

Volunteer opportunities at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center/Institute are all patient- focused. Each position plays a vital role for providing quality patient care with personal service and a strong support network, to both patients their families and caregivers. Most positions require volunteers during business working hours. Whether their needs are directions or simply a newspaper to read while they wait, we will do everything to ensure that they have the best experience possible. Our volunteers include high school students, professionals, service club members, homemakers, medical students and retirees.

Navigator / Clinical Volunteers

Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday

Location: Main Campus

Responsibilities: Volunteers serves as personal guides, accompanying newly diagnosed cancer patients to their first appointment. Provide companionship and comfort assisting on In Patient floors in creating an environment more responsive to an individual patient’s needs. Assists patients with meals and delivers fresh ice water as permitted.

  • Make the center/institute less intimidating by creating a warm and welcoming environment.
  • Greet new patients at registration desk and escort them to their first visit.
  • Offer and provide a short tour introducing patients and family members to helpful resources.
  • Provide patients and family members with information about Karmanos Cancer Institute.
  • Provide appropriate emotional support and comfort while waiting for appointments.
  • Anticipate the needs of patients and family members and strive to exceed their expectations.
  • Respond to questions regarding cancer information resources and support services. Give appropriate referrals.
  • Assist with wheelchair transportation when needed or asked by staff.
  • Maintain patient/visitor hospitality areas.
  • Working with patients receiving chemotherapy treatments, providing snacks, drinks, blankets and pillows.
  • Assist nursing staff by running errands and labs, putting away supplies.

Clerical Support

Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday

Location: Main Campus, Farmington Hills Weisberg Center

Responsibilities: Provide flexible day to day support with filing, data entry, mailings, answering phones and assembly of projects. Good communication and computer skills needed.

  • Putting new volunteer files together
  • Maintain files and materials in an orderly fashion, replenish forms as appropriate, and notify staff when materials need to be replaced.
  • Assist with special projects and assignments.
  • Preparing mailing and copying.

Community Education

Hours: Vary with each event Monday – Sunday

Location: Detroit and the tri-county area

Responsibilities:  Volunteers may assist or provide cancer screening and prevention information at community education events. Need excellent communication skills, the ability to engage the public in learning more about Karmanos and cancer information.

  • Communicate and engage with the public about cancer awareness.
  • Able to drive to community locations, set up and break down displays
  • Able to lift at least 20 lbs.
  • Able to pick up materials for event at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

Fundraising/Third Party

Hours: Vary with each event Monday – Sunday

Location: Detroit and the tri-county area

Responsibilities: Our Third Party Events (Friends Raising Funds) program is made up of dedicated individuals and organizations who raise funds and awareness for the Karmanos Cancer Institute throughout the year.

  • Provide volunteer support at events such as, golf outings, walks or galas.
  • Provide educational material to individuals or organizations with volunteer support.
  • Provide speakers to address guests at fundraising events to thank them for support and present big check.
  • Provide event participant check – in, raffle ticket sales, water distribution and auction monitors.

Hospitality Volunteer

Hours: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday

Location: Main Campus (Infusion, Comfort Cart) Weisberg-Farmington Hills

Responsibilities: This volunteer position provides caring support to patients and families in treatment areas to ensure an excellent outpatient experience.

  • Assists with providing refreshments and engaging visitors in friendly conversation within the patient treatment areas.
  • Assist with handing out knitted chemo hats and lap blankets.
  • Serve lunch to Infusion patients.
  • Circulate in patient waiting areas to provide directional assistance and way finding.

Weisberg/Hospitality Volunteer

Hours: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday

Location: Farmington Hills

Responsibilities: Volunteers are needed in the outpatient clinics to provide a warm and welcoming presence to patients and their families or caregivers. Circulate in the waiting areas and open clinic rooms, while engaging in friendly conversation with patients as deemed appropriate. Minimum age: 25

  • Maintain nourishment center and assist with visitor refreshments.
  • Assist with basic clerical support to include: filing, data entry, mailings and assembly of projects.
  • Maintain healthy relationships by communicating with patients and their families.
  • Organize the resource room when needed and advise staff when education supplies get low.

Other Patient Support Services: Pet Therapy / Musicians 

Hours: Monday – Friday, times may vary

Location: Main Campus, Weisberg-Farmington Hills/ Inpatient and Outpatient areas

Responsibilities: These special volunteers and their handlers provide both psychological and physiological benefits in the patient experience. These types of therapies facilitate a less clinical and more comfortable environment for patients and their families or caregivers.

Pet Therapy

  • Assists with changing routine clinical environments into a warmer friendly one.
  • Appropriate immunizations, animal obedience and control a must.
  • Provide animal bed side comfort on in patient floors.


  • Provide soothing comforting music to patients, caregivers, staff and families in our outpatient setting primarily in the waiting/reception areas.

Educational Resource Center

Hours: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. / 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday

Location: Main Campus - Wertz Clinic

Responsibilities: Provide patients/visitors with cancer related educational information in the clinical and waiting areas.

  • Assist and support nursing staff with patient educational program set-up, check in and organize presentation materials.
  • Stock and organize the materials for community education events.

Additional Volunteer Information

All of our volunteers are required to review the following information to ensure your safety and security, as well as for the protection of our patients.

Please click on the links below to view the orientation modules:


For any questions you may have regarding volunteering for the Karmanos Cancer Institute please contact 313-576-9289, or email volunteer@karmanos.org