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'Life is what you can do for others': Longtime hospital volunteer celebrates 100th birthday

Meldra Panchelli has volunteered with Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin for four decades.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — A woman in Milledgeville is celebrating a big milestone, July 2, 2022. She's been volunteering at the hospital there for almost four decades.

Meldra Panchelli has volunteered at Harriet's Closet at Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin for more than 10 years. She helps the patients who have cancer and are cancer survivors. She says she's been in their shoes before.

"I wanted to be here to help mastectomy patients as they were going through the process of chemo and radiation," Panchelli said.

Panchelli is turning 100 years old. She says she hasn't "fallen or broken any bones." 

Eva Rowe has volunteered with Panchelli since 1998. She says Panchelli is a joy to be around.

"She has always been happy, smiling, and an inspiration to most people," Rowe said.

Panchelli is a breast cancer survivor and wanted to help people in need. 

"It's just something that I felt like God led me to do and that I was happy to be able to serve," Panchelli said.

She's lived in Milledgeville since 1953 because her husband was working as a dentist at the state hospital. While he was working, she started volunteering at the hospital with the cancer patients before becoming a volunteer at Harriet's Closet. Harriet's Closet helps cancer patients with getting every day items like wigs, scarves, and jewelry. As Panchelli crosses 100 years old, she plans to continue helping people as long as she can.

"Life is what you can do for others, not what you can do for yourself," Panchelli.

Panchelli has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours and has volunteered at her local church and Habitat for Humanity.

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