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Due to shifting life events, Becky recently found herself with time on her hands. What did she do? Turned to Google, of course! This led her to VolunteerMatch, which in turn led her to JourneyCare, a hospice and palliative care facility.
“JourneyCare is such an awesome organization!” says Becky. “They pride themselves on the quality of care that they provide to patients of all ages that are dealing with advanced illness. They're focused on the needs of their patients and families to make every single moment count.”
JourneyCare has many volunteers, who do everything from administrative work, to fundraising, to patient visits.
“Regardless of what your individual talents or strengths might be, JourneyCare can put them to good use,” says Becky.
Becky can’t pinpoint exactly why she chose JourneyCare out of all the other options on VolunteerMatch. “I've lost three of my immediate family members now,” says Becky. “My sister passed away from cancer about three years ago. Maybe that played in, I don't know. But when I discovered just what JourneyCare was all about, I was immediately drawn to them.”
“There was a rigorous process just to become a volunteer,” recalls Becky. “I had to take 10 hours of online courses designed for nurses; even that didn't deter me! I couldn't wait to get started! And since I've been there, my respect for this organization has only grown.”
In her short amount of time with JourneyCare, Becky has already worked on several administrative projects, and has visited home-bound patients.
“Other than raising my children, I don't think I've ever done anything quite so meaningful!” says Becky.
Becky recalls one story with a particularly memorable man:
“Last week, I visited with a man named Tom. His wife is caring for him in their home and needed someone to stay with him while she took her father to his doctor appointment. Since they live in a brand new subdivision, I was unable to Mapquest the route I needed; I had to call for directions. Tom answered, and I explained my dilemma. He quickly responded that I wouldn't find it on Google either! He went on to provide the directions I needed, and I could tell he was going to be quite a character! I spent three hours with a man whose life will be prematurely shortened by cancer; three hours with a man whose body is being ravaged and robbed of vitality; three hours with a man who was absolutely bursting with life!
“We sat down at Tom's computer and watched several slideshows that he made of his life. One was of Tom and his wife, with pictures that went all the way back to their dating days in high school. (They'll celebrate 47 years of marriage this year!) Another slideshow was of his childhood, including pictures of his parents, their wedding, him as a baby, his siblings and favorite family events. Another was of his children and another featured family vacations. In the background of each slideshow, he had chosen perfect music and lyrics that evoked a gamut of emotion. At one point, we both had tears in our eyes! It was a labor of love. I'm sure he spent untold hours working on these slideshows, and I can imagine that as he did, he worked to come to terms with the finality of his disease.
“I'm not sure what I expected when I signed up to visit with patients who have little hope for living much longer. But what I'm learning is that life is lived in every small moment. I've learned that hope sustains life. And while I had hoped to offer a sympathetic ear, or to bring some small measure of comfort, I seem to be the one who receives a gift. I didn't expect these visits to be so reciprocal. I didn't expect to connect so deeply with a perfect stranger on a three-hour visit. I didn't expect to draw on the courage so bravely demonstrated by someone in such dire straits. I can only hope that I've touched these wonderful souls as deeply as they've touched mine! Tom, in particular, will stay with me for a long time.”