See V.F.D. (disambiguation) for other uses.
Mostly, we wander the halls, singing songs and handing out heart-shaped balloons to each person on our list, like the song says.

The Volunteers Fighting Disease (unrelated to the Volunteer Fire Department) are a group of cheerful people who travel to Heimlich Hospital in an attempt to cure the patients with their cheerful moods.


The Volunteers Fighting Disease are a recent organization, considering that the Bearded Man was around for its founding. They volunteer at hospitals, specifically Heimlich Hospital, doing cheerful things to brighten the moods of the patients, such as singing and giving away heart-shaped balloons.

Unfortunately, they never provide patients with anything legitimately helpful such as medicine, although some people believe that someone's morale is more powerful than a placebo effect. They also think that believing or imagining something makes it real.

For example, a man asks a nurse to be called for painkillers, while a woman requests a glass of water. One volunteer declines, claiming they don't have time, while another says, "a cheerful attitude is a more effective way of fighting illness than painkillers, or a glass of water. So cheer up, and enjoy your balloon."[1]

In the Netflix adaptation, while the Volunteers wear several assorted, colorful clothes, they seem to have a red-and-white striped vest as a uniform.[3]


A volunteer

One volunteer.

The Volunteers, led by a bearded man with a guitar, travel in a square, gray van with the letters "V.F.D." printed on its side.

Names are not used among the Volunteers Fighting Disease. Rather, volunteers call each other "brother" and "sister," as they believe that all people are siblings united for a common cause. As such, nobody even knows the names of the other volunteers.

It is generally accepted in the group that the news is always depressing, as their motto is "no news is good news," and so none of the volunteers read The Daily Punctilio or other newspapers.

They perform a song while on their rounds at the hospital, which is rather repetitive and very cheerful.[1]


After going on the lam, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny disguise themselves as volunteers, in the hope of finding a lead to the mystery surrounding their family, ending up in Heimlich Hospital.

The Volunteers were all present for the Heimlich Hospital Fire. It is believed that most or all of them survived, as Violet invented a false intercom and told them to head to the unfinished wing of the hospital, which was safer.[1]

Select Volunteers appeared at the trial and the Hotel Denouement. It is unknown if they escaped that subsequent fire.



In the books, the only known member is the Bearded Man, who is the leader of the group. However, while in the van, the Baudelaires notice about twenty VFD members, including a handful of children and "a very cheerful driver who occasionally took his eyes off the road to grin cheerfully at all his passengers."





Netflix Series

Behind the Scenes


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