We salute our 521 volunteers during National Volunteer Week

In honour of National Volunteer Week, we asked our volunteers to share their thoughts about what motivates them to provide support to patients and their families at every age and every stage of cancer.

Across the board, the most common motivation was the desire to give back, with many volunteers describing how Hope & Cope had been instrumental to their own healing process. Office volunteer Helene Chahine noted how frightened she had been when diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. “Hope & Cope was there to provide support and help direct me to the right path. They had my well-being at heart; you could feel the love given freely by the great team of volunteers.”

Gerry Greene uses humour to make patients smile
Gerry Greene uses humour to make patients smile

The rewards of volunteering are what keep our volunteers coming back week after week, year after year. “Talking to and supporting patients is the best thing I do in my life,” said Susan Reymer, a thyroid cancer survivor, peer mentor, and facilitator of Hope & Cope’s Thyroid Cancer Support Group.

Volunteer Gerry Green, a survivor of stage 4 colorectal cancer, enjoys interacting with patients as a member of the Hospital Visiting Team. “The greatest thing for me is when I put on my red ‘Patch Adams’ nose and am able to make the patients laugh or smile. For those few minutes, they are not thinking about why they are there in the first place.”

Volunteers also expressed their gratitude for the opportunities for personal growth that Hope & Cope offers. Caroline Tuchscherer, who provides energy healing at the Wellness Centre / Lou’s House, says she enjoys “being part of an organization that values its volunteers and invests in us”, mentioning, in particular, the Volunteer Conference Day hosted by Hope & Cope last October. Darline Rosenhek, who recently celebrated her 20th anniversary as a volunteer in multiple roles including leadership positions, concurs with this assessment. “I was involved in several pilot projects which were thought-provoking, educational for me and stimulated me to stay and do more. I even got a certificate in Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University because I felt it would help me do a better job as a volunteer.”

Jessica Miller enjoys Annual General Meeting and Volunteer Social with Board member David Martz and his wife, Sandy
Jessica Miller enjoys Annual General Meeting and Volunteer Social with Board member David Martz and his wife, Sandy

Past President Jessica Miller feels the same passion and pride for the organization that she felt when she joined Hope & Cope shortly after it was established in 1981. “Working in Hope & Cope has been an exceptional learning experience. I made wonderful friendships with fellow volunteers and cherish these relationships.”

Volunteer Edgar Goldstein is a retired pharmacist who remembers how the growth of the oncology satellite pharmacy paralleled that of Hope & Cope. “As Hope & Cope grew, we grew and instituted many new ways of delivering chemotherapy along with new research protocols. We saw the need for our patients to have a helping hand and Hope & Cope was – and remains – the ideal resource to help these patients on their journey.”

Volunteers will get top billing on our social media channels this week, so for more great quotes, be sure to visit our Facebook page and check us out on Twitter.

 

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