By Marylin Smith Carsley

Hope & Cope relies on the selflessness of its volunteers, and not even a pandemic will deter them from providing patients with support.

Despite the public health requirements for social distancing, Hope & Cope’s volunteers are always accessible for patients, be it by phone or online. They are always eager to provide information about wellness activities, answer questions, or just act as a friendly sounding board for patients who feel uncertain about their health and the general state of the world right now.

According to Hinda Goodman, Oncology Program Coordinator for Hope & Cope, volunteers rely on both Zoom and the phone to assist patients. She explains that there are two groups of volunteers. Mentors, who are cancer survivors themselves, are carefully matched with cancer patients. Outreach callers comprise the second group, and they are responsible for checking in on previously registered participants, and following up to see if they require any further services. Hinda points out that even though volunteers are often troubled by their inability to do more, sometimes a simple phone call can alter an individual’s state of mind for the better.

“We value our volunteers for their continued compassion, but urge them to be mindful of their own physical, emotional and mental health and indulge in self-care,” says Hinda. She adds that because most of our volunteers are working in confinement, self-care is an opportunity for them to take some much needed ‘me time’.

Self-care boosts energy and positivity. Its necessity should not be minimized, particularly during this extended trying time. There are many useful YouTube exercise videos, virtual museum visits, lectures and even virtual religious services. Hinda encourages volunteers to get outside and breathe the fresh fall air, and to take advantage of a Zoom call or Face-time to connect with others.

“We are tremendously grateful to our volunteers for their tireless efforts,” says Hinda, urging them to engage in frequent self-care in order to maintain their own health.

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