To the Editor:
Volunteers are one of Regional Hospice and Home Care’s greatest assets. As we celebrate National Volunteer Month at Regional Hospice I am inspired by an extraordinary former patient, who chose to spend her last days shining a light on the loving volunteers who enriched her last months.
During the last week of her life, our patient, Sara, started writing an article entitled, Volunteers—More Than Just a Cup of Coffee. She was savvy to the intangibles that go beyond medical expertise to fill a waning life with joy, and the vast army of dedicated volunteers it takes to make those intangibles materialize through positive life experiences. She shared with us some of the incredible things that volunteers did to enhance her final months.
“A volunteer was my trip down the Seine River; with them I explored artists and learned about classic cars. I felt like one of their old Navy pals. One volunteer shared her love of music, and she sang to me. Another volunteer baked me cupcakes; I waited for her visits every week. Deb, my personal family support volunteer, did everything—she became my hands and my voice and kept the normal parts of my life going when I could not.”
These are only a few of the volunteer experiences that Sara mentioned in her article, yet more than 800 of our patients have similar stories about our 330 Regional Hospice volunteers. This past year alone, our volunteers generously donated 16,800 volunteer hours to help our families and assist with our programs. They greeted visitors in our Center for Comfort Care & Healing, worked in our gardens, provided pet therapy to our patients, gave their time and resources as members of our board of directors, made flower arrangements for patients and helped to maintain our building. Volunteers work in our offices; they raise significant support through chapter events, our gala and our golf tournament to keep our inpatient center doors open and sustain our programs; their commitment is endless!
Sara wanted us to promise her that we would find new ways to show them how important they are: multimedia, interviews on the big screen, more pictures and interviews on the website. You name it; she was excited about the possibilities to make them feel like the rock stars they truly were to her!
My deepest thanks to all volunteers who freely give their time and compassion to help Regional Hospice and Home Care and every other nonprofit that could not exist without you. This is your month—Sara would want you all to savor every last bit of our gratitude!
Cynthia Emiry Roy, MS, LCSW, CHA
President & CEO