After losing her sister to cancer last year, volunteer Lucy Walsh decided she wanted to help others by offering not only her comfort and support to patients and families at the ONJ Centre, but something a little different too.
Being a volunteer on Ward 8 South Palliative Care is often about just being there for patients and families, listening to their stories, making them a cup of tea, and offering a smile or hug when it’s needed.
“I like being part of these families’ journeys, I feel I can understand what they are going through.”
Lucy, as part of her work as a volunteer, would help ensure that every patient coming through the Palliative Care ward was given a hand-knitted blanket that they could take home or that their families could keep. Knitted by volunteers, these blankets become very special to some families.
‘My mum passed away 2 years ago. I still have the blanket in my car and cry into it from time to time.’ – Christine
After learning of a shortage in the supply of blankets, Lucy decided to do something about it. She created a knitting group on Facebook and asked for knitted squares which would then be sewn up into blankets by one of her friends, along with an additional call to various knitting groups in the community for beanies and scarves.
Inundated with donated handmade goods, Lucy was at the local post office every day, picking up blanket squares, scarves and beanies from people she didn’t even know. She got letters from families who told her how special the blankets were to them, especially after their loved one passed away.
“There was a lot of work going on behind-the-scenes too – meeting people who came in to donate their knitted squares, thanking people, organising the blankets to be sewn together, it was so lovely to have fresh, bright colours and to then take the new blankets up to the ward and give to patients and their families.”
Such is the spirit of our volunteers at Austin Health. We are so grateful for the warmth, humanity, love and hope that volunteers like Lucy give to patients, staff and families every day. Thank you.
If you think volunteering at Austin Health might be for you, please contact us:
+61 3 9496 9602