Princess Margaret Hospital has an extensive volunteer system. You see the folks in red vests bounding around the different clinics, offering juice, cookies, and, when you’re lucky, lollipops.
Yesterday I ran into Tara, one of the volunteers extraordinaire at the chemo unit after not having seen her all summer. It was as if I was greeting a long lost friend, we were so happy to reconnect and find out how the other was doing . Tara’s excitement about this project was of great encouragement.
Hospital volunteers are another piece when it comes to putting together the entire picture of the effects of cancer. What is it like to come and try to offer cheer to people who are very sick or dying? What is it like to be rebuffed? What is it like to watch someone over the days and week either regain their health or to deteriorate.
Volunteers are caregivers, but at a certain distance from the patient. Not family, not a paid worker, but somewhere in between. I hope that we can engage volunteers in this project to write or create something to add to our perspective.
Do you know any volunteers extraordinaire? Are you a volunteer or do you have a story about a volunteer?