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For Immediate Release
April 22, 2013
LONDON, Ontario – April 21 – 27 is National Volunteer week, and London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is recognizing the care and dedication of all our volunteers. The story of Don and Sandra Allaire is just one example of how committed our volunteers are, and how fulfilling volunteering at a hospital can be.
Don and Sandra have been married for 53 years, and have been volunteering for most of their married life. They began their volunteer careers at a church in Timmins, Ontario, where Don, a retired electrician, offered his handy skills, and Sandra spent time baking, helping with fundraisers, social teas, and funerals. Sandra also volunteered at a local hospital where she would fix hairdos for the female patients, play cards, and write letters with them.
Wanting to be closer to their children, Don and Sandra moved to London in 2001. New to the city, they were eager to make friends, so they quickly got involved and offered the care and skills to our community they brought with them from Timmins. On April 18, Don and Sandra received recognition for 10 years of service at LHSC’s annual Volunteer Lunch. Sandra shares that at other organizations they often have to volunteer separately, but adds that being guides at LHSC is exceptional, “because it is something we can do together - we each have our own area, but can call on each other for assistance, and we enjoy coffee with friends after our shifts.”
Going to a hospital can be stressful for patients as well as visitors. “Having someone help you find your way around is much appreciated. If you’re a people person and feel that you can make a difference, then volunteering at a hospital is something to consider,” says Sandra.
Sandra is fortunate that her previous employer, Scotiabank, has a program whereby volunteers who contribute at least 50 hours a year can receive up to $1,000 for a specific need at their organization. In the past, she has used these funds to donate sleeper chairs for parents of sick children to be able to spend the night at their bedside, and personal care items for women in need through the Women’s Patient Assistance Fund.
Volunteers at LHSC have been enhancing patient care since 1924. There are currently over 900 volunteers servicing 90 programs across Victoria Hospital, University Hospital, and the London Regional Cancer Program. Roles are filled by a wide range of dedicated people, from high school students to retirees, who provide services including, information desks, delivering e-cards and flowers, escorting patients and families to appointments, supporting patient care areas, and operating gift shops. “We are very grateful to our volunteers. Their daily presence provides an invaluable service to our patients, families, and visitors,” says Cindy Collins, Manager of Volunteer Services at LHSC.
Don and Sandra Allaire will be available for interviews on Monday, April 22, from 10:00 – 11:30a.m.
About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 138 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 65 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 55721
Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call