Embracing moments: A heartwarming 20-year volunteer journey

Gale Murley, volunteer at LHSC

Gale Murley has dedicated 20 years of volunteer service with London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) Auxiliary. Her volunteer journey has been about giving back without expecting anything, sparked by an unexpected encounter. 

"I met a lady at a fundraiser, and we just started talking," she remembers. "She guided me to a place where my crafts were valued, and it all blossomed from there." In the blink of an eye, she found herself volunteering for the children’s group of the LHSC Auxiliary. 

Before long, Gale transitioned to the LHSC Auxiliary’s Gift Shop. Reflecting on her journey, she recalls, "Once I started, I found joy in it and simply wanted to continue."

Gale's role as a volunteer is all about bringing people together and showing empathy, whether in the Tower Shoppe, a gift shop located in the E zone at Victoria Hospital, or the hallways.

She's there to listen and offer comfort with a smile, highlighting volunteers' crucial role in uniting care for our patients, families, and visitors. "Helping them in any way brings me joy, and it is rewarding," she says.

Volunteering brings a sense of gratitude, but it also comes with moments that leave a lasting impact. All profits from the Gift Shops are directed to LHSC to address their most urgent needs.

“Coming here always reminds me of how much the hospital does to make a patient’s visit better and why our work is important regardless of what role we play within LHSC," shares Murley.

Feeling inspired by Gale's story? Discover how you can make a difference by volunteering at LHSC today! Learn more here.


Sharon Morgan-Hayward's volunteerism at LHSC: A story of a lifelong commitment 

It's often the small acts of kindness that leave a lasting impact on our lives. That stands out the most to Sharon Morgan-Hayward when reflecting on her 15 years of volunteer service at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

"It's those small gestures that truly matter," she says. Whether it's a smile or a reassuring presence, Sharon's support in the London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP) comforts patients as they approach the registration desk.

Sharon has always enjoyed helping others. She began her volunteer journey at the age of 13 at the old Victoria Hospital. She'd go around with a cart, selling chocolate bars and magazines to patients.

"I was curious to see how this would work, and that's when it all began, and it hasn't stopped. Helping people felt good, and I liked it," she recalls with a smile.

Making a difference

Volunteering was a natural extension of Sharon's lifelong desire to lend a helping hand. She pursued a career as a nurse, and when retirement eventually arrived, she didn't hesitate. "I wanted to continue making a difference," she reflects.

It's been 15 years since Sharon joined LHSC Volunteer Services. She is driven by a commitment to supporting others during their most vulnerable moments. But for her, volunteering isn't just about giving; it's also about receiving.

"It's a journey of growth," she explains, highlighting how her experience has enriched her life. From acquiring new skills to gaining a deeper understanding of human nature, Sharon treasures the lessons learned and the connections formed along the way.

"There have been countless encounters that have left an indelible mark on my heart," she says. "One time, a World War II veteran was there with his daughter, and he had a button on his hat that said, 'Hug me, I'm a vet.' So, when I escorted them to their clinic, I said, 'I have one more thing to do. I have to hug you,' and his daughter lit up. Like I said, small things can have a significant impact."

National Volunteer Week provides an opportunity to reflect on stories like Sharon's, serving as a reminder that even in times of adversity, individuals are always ready to extend kindness.

These volunteers create meaningful moments of support and connection within our hospital community and unite care by fostering a sense of solidarity and compassion among patients, staff, and volunteers alike.

Continuing the journey of care: Odette Miller's inspiring volunteer story

Before retiring from her nursing career, Odette Miller realized her journey of caring for others was far from over. Motivated by her compassionate nature and desire to give back to others, she continued her caregiving path by volunteering at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

"I knew that retiring from nursing didn't mean retiring from caring," she says. "Volunteering was the natural next step for me."

Odette's commitment to serving others for the past decade has been the cornerstone of her volunteer work. She has become a pillar of support and empathy within University Hospital, particularly in the Orthopaedics clinic.

"I spent eight years at the information desk before transitioning to the Orthopaedic clinic, and I must say, the change was quite significant," she explains. "Here, you rarely have a moment to sit as you constantly move back and forth."

Odette’s role consists of assisting with patient flow, which improves the patient experience by guiding them to the examination room, helping them find information, and chatting with them along the way.

Reflecting on her volunteer journey, Odette emphasizes giving back to the community. "Volunteers play a vital role in supporting hospital operations. I may not wear scrubs anymore, but our impact continues to be significant."

Rewarding challenge

Odette's experience and training as a volunteer helped her to strengthen and develop new skills, while also drawing on her background as a nurse.

"There was this one time when someone collapsed just outside the hospital," she recalls. "I had to get immediate assistance. It was a tough moment but fulfilling because I could offer help and knew how to act in the moment. This incident showed how important volunteer training is and how it helps in those urgent situations."  

Looking ahead, Odette's dedication to volunteering remains. "I don't plan on slowing down anytime soon," she affirms with a smile. "As long as I'm able, I'll continue to lend a helping hand wherever needed. It's rewarding and makes me feel good to do it."

From vulnerable to inspiring: Jeffy Yang's volunteer story

Jeffy Yang, a medical student at Western University, has generously volunteered his time for five years at University Hospital. This service achievement is especially commendable considering the demands of his studies, which he balanced while volunteering at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

Jeffy's drive to give back began with a moment of vulnerability. He was 16 years old when his sister fell ill and was hospitalized. He vividly recalls the experience of stepping into Victoria Hospital. "I was scared, lost, and confused," he recalls. "But the gentle guidance of a volunteer eased my worries. It was a profound moment for me because I witnessed firsthand the impact that volunteers can have."

Inspired to pay forward the compassion he received, he embarked on his volunteer journey at LHSC years later.

Every encounter Jeffy has had with patients, caregivers, and visitors to the hospital has become a testament to the care that radiates from LHSC’s team of volunteers. From helping elderly patients navigate to their appointments, to offering words of comfort in times of distress.

As an Information Desk volunteer, Jeffy creates continuous moments of support and comfort by welcoming the public and facilitating connections with information and directions for LHSC.    

Diverse life experiences matter

Jeffy also emphasizes the importance of embracing numerous life experiences and recognizing the contributions of volunteers from all walks of life.

"Diverse life experiences matter," Jeffy asserts. “They help us acknowledge and support the experiences of all patients."

Jeffy's commitment remains as he contemplates the future and new challenges as a university student. His chosen career path demonstrates his desire to continue to give back. "Whenever someone needs help, I want to be there," he says.

Volunteers at LHSC go above and beyond to assist; they create moments filled with care and compassion. To Jeffy, volunteers are a family where support and kindness know no bounds.