At 77 years of age Rose-Lynne sits down to speak with me about the important role that Beth Donovan Hospice has in her life. She openly explains that the “volunteer work at Beth Donovan Hospice has been a literal life saver.” And as she continues to tell me her story, I can see not only how genuine she is but how passionate she is about embracing life and helping others to embrace life too.
Coming from a corporate world, where she worked as Risk Manager for a large property development firm, Rose-Lynne felt lost when she had to suddenly stop working to focus on her mental health. “It was an active executive position that was demanding but so rewarding. It really drove me to achieve, but then to suddenly have to stop…” Once her mental health improved, she found she lacked purpose and needed something more in her life.
Advocacy provides inspiration.
“When I began feeling better, I started going to a book club with Melanie, who was the Day Hospice Coordinator at the time, and Melanie would talk about hospice.” Melanie spoke so positively about the hospice that it intrigued Rose-Lynne. And she thought to herself “I can do that. I can visit a client.” She contacted the hospice and it just so happened there was an upcoming training session. However, it was Melanie’s advocacy that really inspired her to volunteer.
“Volunteering changed my life because it gave me a sense of purpose.”
“I joined when I was at a low time in my life with Bi-Polar disorder having a real hold on my existence.” She explains, however; that when she started her training at Hospice she met wonderful and caring people who took the time to match her with the perfect client. She began as an In-Home Visiting Volunteer and continues in this role today. Although it took some time for her to build up her confidence to engage in other aspects of service, she has since found her stride and volunteers in several different capacities at BDH. During her six years with hospice Rose-Lynne has been involved with In-Home Visiting, Day Hospice, Outreach, Therapeutic Art, various committees, Yoga, Book Club, Reflective Writing and most recently has joined the Board of Directors. It should come as no surprise then, that this active and engaging volunteer has received this year’s June Callwood award.
Rose-Lynne lights up any room she enters and her passion for helping others is always at the fore. Clients, volunteers, and staff always have something positive to say about her. Likewise, Rose-Lynne feels she benefits immensely from the connections with the wonderful clients, volunteers, and staff. She enjoys the satisfaction she receives from making a difference in the lives of our clients while feeling supported by her fellow volunteers and staff. “There is 100 percent support, they are warm, they listen to you, they actually look at you when you talk,” she says with a laugh. “If you have a new idea and it’s doable; we do it. Sue, Executive Director, never says no (more laughs)… especially when it comes to the arts programs.”
Searching for purpose
Rose-Lynne believes that by volunteering people can enrich their lives. “If you are looking for a purpose, if you are looking to enrich your life, this is the place to do it. Because it is so open to your skills and talents. Whatever you can contribute, they will find a place for you. Committees, quiet visits, working on the Board of Directors. If you sing, come and sing for us! And we need Bingo Callers! And players too,” she says with a warm smile.
“It’s enough to keep me from moving from Kemptville! I’m not going anywhere!”