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On a Friday night in 2021, Jamie Volpert opened a handwritten thank you note mailed to his business, Tropical Smoothie Café. The writer thanked Volpert for being located so near the IU Health Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center because it was such a treat for her mom to get a smoothie after her chemotherapy infusions. Not only were they tasty, the note writer said, they provided much-needed relief from dry mouth caused by the treatments.
All weekend, Volpert thought about the note and how something so seemingly small could make such a difference in someone’s life.
On Monday, he walked into the Schwarz Cancer Center and asked to talk to someone about donating smoothies for patients on a regular basis.
“I’ll never forget that day,” said Ann Bredensteiner, manager of Integrative Health and Volunteers.
“Jamie said, ‘I’m your neighbor and I watched the facility being built.’ He told me about the note and, with tears in his eyes said, ’I need more of this in my life. This is good stuff.’”
Tropical Smoothie Café now delivers smoothies monthly for patients getting infusions and radiation or having lab work done. Volpert has also surprised IU Health team members with smoothies.
“I’m not sure who’s more delighted, the patients or the volunteers who get to pass them out,” said Bredensteiner. “Everybody loves Tropical Smoothie Day. The names are fun too. Jetty Punch, Mango Magic and Blimey Limey are most popular.”
The fact that the smoothies are donated only adds to the appreciation. Patients getting infusions can see the cafe from the second-floor windows.
Although Volpert is busy with four stores and contracts with several sports team—as well as preparing to open stores in Whitestown and Noblesville—he says, the monthly donations are a priority.
“That thank you note really inspired me to take action,” he said. “I’m glad I did.”