Thank you volunteers! We couldn’t do this without you

April 16, 2018 | by Mary Lou Mastro

You’d be surprised by the number of volunteers at work inside our organization.

Not 50, not even 150. We have 1,500 volunteers rolling up their sleeves across our health system.

They greet our visitors and help them find their way, they comfort our patients and their families, they staff our gift and flower shops and walk visitors to their cars—and more.

We even have 90 volunteer animal-assisted therapy teams visiting our patients.

It takes so many people coming together like a symphony to deliver care and complete the work that we do. Volunteers are a critical part of that.

This week is National Healthcare Volunteer Week, an annual observance that reminds us how lucky we are that this great team of people has our back.

Over the last year, volunteers provided 135,000 hours of invaluable service to our system. And while they don’t get a monetary reward for their work, they reap some mental and physical benefits from volunteering.

Volunteering is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. It boosts your mental health and can reduce stress. It gives you a sense of purpose and keeps you active. It may even help you live longer.

Miriam Handke is a perfect example of that. She has been a volunteer at Elmhurst Hospital for 61 years. Now 96 years old, she is at Elmhurst every Thursday to deliver newspapers and brighten our days.

“You never know if there’s something you say or something you do that touches a life,” says Handke, who claims her weekly duties at the hospital and the friends she’s made there have been a steady support through life’s ups and downs.

I love that we have volunteers here from nearly every generation, from teenagers to people in their 90s.

And I’m so grateful for each and every one. Their compassion, dedication and selflessness inspire us every day. Thank you for all the work you put in to make the Edward-Elmhurst Health system second to none.

Both Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital have a wide range of volunteer opportunities, and would love to hear from you. Regardless of where you gravitate, I encourage you to explore volunteer opportunities in your community. It will change your life—and other people’s lives—for the better!

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