TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa Bay area woman is feeling extra thankful to be alive this holiday season, and she is paying it forward to the staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital, who helped save her.

  • Woman volunteers at hospital who helped her through Lymphoma
  • Elaine Bridges said she had a strong team of therapists, nurses
  • She says she hopes to keep volunteering at St. Joseph's every week
  • LINK: More good news stories

Less than a year ago, Elaine Bridges was given a devastating diagnosis that almost took her life.

"I had a brain tumor that covered the entire right side of my brain," Bridges said.

Last October, Elaine was diagnosed with Lymphoma of the central nervous system. She spent 112 days at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

"I cried frustrated especially when I couldn't hold myself up on the side of the bed, when I could not stand up," Bridges said.

Some doctors worried she wouldn’t survive, but Elaine refused to live in fear.

"Instead of saying, ‘God, why me?’ it helped me get my fight back," Bridges said.

She had a strong army of therapists and nurses beside her, and Elaine was able to pull through. She even spent time visiting other patients during her treatment.

"Her positivity, her smile, she's walking around the hallways, go by patients rooms, and patients would know there's hope for them as well," Charge Nurse Renee Rosato said.

Now in remission, Elaine walks through the hospital with a new purpose.

"If I could do anything for them, if it's just putting blankets in a warmer, I have to give back," Bridges said.

She just started volunteering on the same floor with the same people who saved her.

"The last year has taught me whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, no matter how horrific it may seem, we can come out stronger and a better person," Bridges said.

Elaine still has to get MRIs every other month but hopes to continue volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospital at least once a week.