Heart of Hospice

Joanne Ferrigno: My name is Theo, and I am the youngest volunteer at Regional Hospice. I have been a volunteer for six years. I love my job which is visiting beautiful people in the 12 different rooms. When I enter, they are usually laying or sitting up in bed. Sometimes they talk and sometimes they can’t. If they can talk, they say things like “You are adorable,“ “Come sit” and “You made my day.” Sometimes they stretch their arms to reach out for me which usually brings a smile to their face. Making the best of every day means sharing a ray of sunshine with people who are very ill and will soon leave this world. On their next journey, I hope they are surrounded by loving, happy, lively souls who welcome them with a spirited leap into their arms. Dogs are the best companions you could ever wish for.

Grace Jeffries: My name is Grace Jeffries and I’ve been a Family Support Volunteer and Lobby Greeter for Regional Hospice since the summer of 2021. After volunteering in an inpatient hospice unit in Pennsylvania during undergrad, I was excited to continue to foster a safe and trustworthy environment for patients at Regional Hospice. Volunteering for Regional Hospice has been an invaluable experience and has allowed me to become a familiar face and source of encouragement for patients and their families during a vulnerable time in their lives. I’ve especially enjoyed collaborating with other volunteers and staff to learn new skills and continue to strive to provide the highest quality care for patients. Making the best of every day means maintaining a positive attitude and the desire to be a source of joy for others. Each individual at Regional Hospice exemplifies these goals.

Julie Henderson: I am a volunteer in the Center and I have been a volunteer since before the Center was built. I have always been the one person family or friends talk to when someone was sick or dying. Those conversations always seemed easy and natural to me. I did not know about RHHC until a friend mentioned that he was a volunteer, and I became trained in the next cycle. I love being a comforting presence for families and for those dying. It’s a small gesture in many ways, but it’s one that can really help someone in that situation. Having been through it personally, I know that a kind person when you’re feeling alone can really help. I try to avoid negativity in my life. I try to be kind to others and remind myself that everyone is carrying a burden and that it is not my role to judge. I try to live my life with a degree of grace and gratitude.

Rochelle Albini: My name is Rochelle Albini and I started at Regional Hospice 4 months ago as a community family support volunteer. I was drawn to Regional Hospice because of the staff and support I found there. I have been a hospice volunteer for almost 20 years in different places I have lived. I love my job because I believe the end of life should be honored. I enjoy giving love and support so that people feel seen and heard at this time of their lives. I now see that it is a “calling,” which I am grateful to do. Focusing on what I’m grateful for each day makes every day the best. This is an especially good time in my life, so it’s easier to do!!

Adeethyia Shankar: I am Adeethyia Shankar, a first-year student at Brown University. I have volunteered at Regional Hospice for six months as a center family support volunteer and lobby greeter. I was drawn to Regional Hospice because I remember seeing so many people helping him and making him feel comfortable when my grandfather was sick in India. It meant a lot to me, and I wanted to do the same. Also, I love the opportunity to provide for people experiencing the final portion of their lives. It is rewarding to deliver food-trays to them and their families, answer patient-calls, or even just hold their hand. Every day, I try to learn one new thing, and I remember my gratitude for the mentors who have guided me in life, whether in academics or even my personal wellness. I also try to give back to the community by being a mentor to younger kids and serving our elders, such as in Regional Hospice.