Our Staten Islander of the Week donates her time guiding patients along the road to recovery.
NY1's Thalia Perez introduces us.
Carolyn Spann knows what it takes to come back from an injury.
She's recovered from two knee replacement surgeries and learned some valuable lessons along the way.
"The beginning is hard but the reward at the end is just so wonderful," said Spann, our Staten Islander of the Week. "It's really, really wonderful but we have to put in the work."
Spann is now putting her experience to good use.
She volunteers at Staten Island University Hospital's rehabilitation department - the same place she learned how to get back on her feet.
"It really gives me the opportunity to be able to be supportive and not judging anyone else and to help them as well as I had to get help for myself," she said.
Spann plays a key role in the department's peer mentorship program.
The initiative pairs patients with volunteers who have also struggled with the recovery process.
Spann is there to provide emotional support and help with day-to-day operations.
"It's great even if I have to walk or go up the stairs I'm still getting what I need to take with me and it's just so refreshing to be committed to giving back to others," said Spann.
Marie Versacio was one of several patients who completed their rehabilitation program this week.
She says Spann has been a line of support through the entire process.
"She's very helpful and she lets you know what's going on," said Marie Versacio, a patient at SIUH. "She doesn't coddle you, she let's you know how it is."
Doctors say Spann's positive attitude makes a big impact along the road to recovery.
"She has a great personality, she's warm, she has a calming presence and what she brings to the patient is they can identify with her," said Dr. Rashmi Rastogi, a neuropsychologist at Staten Island University Hospital.
And so, for inspiring patients to keep pushing forward no matter what's standing in their way, Carolyn Spann is our Staten Islander of the Week.