Thirty years ago, while Donna’s mother was in palliative care in a different hospital, volunteers did many small things to help. It was an extremely difficult time and a memory that stayed with her. When she retired and was looking for an additional opportunity to volunteer, our hospital was a natural choice for her.
Donna began volunteering in our Emergency and Diagnostic Imaging departments in 2013 and in 2014 became the Convenor for the Diagnostic Imaging volunteers. The Convenor is responsible for coordinating all volunteer activities for a specific area of service: scheduling shifts, attending meetings, training new volunteers, liaising with staff, etc.
In 2015, the volunteer program in the Emergency Department was suspended for over a year due to an Ebola outbreak. Since then, Donna focused her time on Diagnostic Imaging while also assisting with coordinating the Teddy Bear Clinic and the Auxiliary Christmas Luncheon for several years.
Donna has always believed that it was important for individuals to volunteer and contribute to their community. In addition to volunteering at our hospital Donna has been involved with many different organizations.
On March 21, 2022, Donna was the first volunteer from the Auxiliary back onsite since the onset of the pandemic.
“Returning to the hospital was delightful. Just going back to a ‘normal’ activity was satisfying but I was amazed by how warmly I was greeted by patients and how enthusiastic the staff were in welcoming me. Even staff I had never met stopped me to say how pleased they were to see volunteers returning,” shared Donna.
Of the 14 volunteers who were helping in Diagnostic Imaging before the pandemic hit, 11 are eagerly returning. These dedicated and caring volunteers have contributed thousands of hours of service and we couldn’t be more grateful.
When asked what her favorite memory during her time volunteering with us has been, Donna shared, “We don’t always know if our work has made a difference, so it is gratifying to see the results of the volunteer efforts. I had helped with a couple Teddy Bear Clinics. Twice I had young children come into Emergency Department with medical concerns who confidently told me they knew what to expect because they had recently been to the Teddy Bear Clinic. Their visit was less traumatic because of the clinic.”
For Donna, the most rewarding part of volunteering at the hospital is talking to patients who are scared; being able to distract them or reassure them.
“Nobody enjoys going to the hospital as a patient. Sometimes just a smile from a volunteer makes an important little difference,” said Donna.
It is a wonderful sight to see our Auxiliary volunteers back onsite once more.
Photo caption: Donna during her first shift back onsite since the onset of the pandemic.