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Volunteering makes my life better


Michael volunteers primarily as a wayfinding volunteer, helping patients and families navigate the VGH campus, and in the Palliative Care Unit.

Michael began volunteering at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) five years ago, after retiring and moving to BC from Ottawa. 

"I was the Vice-President of Human Resources for a large academic hospital," he recalls, "and so when I began looking for a volunteer role, Vancouver Coastal Health (and specifically VGH) seemed like a wonderful fit. Volunteering here allowed me to contribute to the community and stay attached to health care, where I'd spent the last 25 years of my career."

Helping others find their way

As a wayfinding volunteer, Michael takes delight in helping patients and families find their way across the VGH campus. "The hospital is so large, and when patients and families are here, they often don't know where to go; stress compounds the situation. So I'm happy to be able to help them find their way and reduce their stress a little," he says. "I've been all over this place – even in the tunnel!"

Sharing precious moments

He also volunteers on the Palliative Care Unit. Over the years, he's had many wonderful experiences meeting patients and their families, but a few encounters have truly stayed with him. 

"One of the things that I enjoy most about volunteering is the opportunity to connect with people during their health care journeys; it's a privilege," he says. "I remember one patient on the Palliative Care Unit in particular. Over the course of several weeks, I read a John Grisham novel about baseball to her," he recalls. "She laughed enthusiastically at many of the passages. My life was made better for the special time we shared."

Encouraging others

These moments and many more are what continue to inspire him to give back by volunteering at VGH. "I hope to continue volunteering for many years yet," he says. "Volunteering here offers such a diverse range of interesting roles, which enable you to connect with many members of our community. I'd recommend volunteering here to anyone."

Thank you to Michael and our many other volunteers for all you do for our patients, their families, our visitors and staff.

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