How giving back can bring joy: Nori Sugimoto’s Volunteer Story

Nori Sugimoto, Volunteer, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC)

April 18, 2023

April 16 to 22 marks National Volunteer Week. To celebrate, we’re exploring the volunteer journey of four longstanding LHSC volunteers. Follow us this week as we learn more about the volunteers who make Team LHSC ‘Stronger Together’.

Nori Sugimoto’s volunteer journey began before she even moved to London. While living in British Columbia she was a volunteer at Vancouver General Hospital, so it was only natural for Nori to volunteer at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) when she moved to London 11 years ago.

Nori has been an auxiliary volunteer for ten years at LHSC’s Boutique Gift Shop. The Gift shops at LHSC are operated by the LHSC Auxiliary with proceeds supporting the hospital’s highest priority needs. While volunteering in the gift shop, she helps customers with purchases, and when things are quiet, she rearranges displays or works to make the shop as attractive as possible. She describes the gift shop experience as a great distraction for many, that also brings joy. “Patients, staff and visitors come into our shop and are thrilled to get away from their rooms and stations,” she continues.

In her retirement Nori believes that volunteering has been an integral part of ensuring she gets out of the house, and also has the opportunity to meet new people. She admits that she knows many other people who are retired who and are looking for something to do, or to socialize, and has recommended volunteering to them as well.

In fact, it was this very thing that brought her back when the Boutique Gift Shop reopened in August 2021 after volunteers had to leave the hospital due to COVID-19 in March of 2020.

“I came back because I missed the people and my health allowed me to continue,” she explains.

When asked what keeps her coming back, Nori’s answer is simple: “It’s a cheerful place to work volunteer and the proceeds go to a great cause.”

The theme of 2023 Volunteer Week at LHSC is “We Are Stronger Together”; a nod to the teamwork required to make health care work best. Nori agrees that that she sees this theme in action at the gift shop every day. “Although we are not hospital staff, proceeds from our shops support LHSC and health care. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that my little bit helps,” she concludes.