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Celebrating Our CHEO Volunteers
Did you know that 450 dedicated volunteers donate more than 28,000 hours of their time to us every year?
As someone who grew up here in Ottawa, I’ve known and admired CHEO as an organization driven by people with incredible skill and caring – including a small army of dedicated volunteers that make us the envy of many other local organizations.
Since arriving at CHEO in 2011, I’ve been truly awestruck by what our volunteers contribute. Cuddling babies in the NICU. Reading to kids. Raising money. Knitting booties and hats. Working as Patient Safety Ambassadors. Helping people find their way around the hospital. Guiding families through surgery or their Emergency visit. When CHEO was named number one out of 26 hospitals that deliver pediatric care in Ontario last year, our volunteers rightly shared the credit for that high rate of patient satisfaction.
April 6th-12th is National Volunteer Week, the 11th consecutive year. It marks a week to recognize the efforts of volunteers and to thank them for their dedication -- a week to bring them out of the shadows and into the well-deserved spotlight.
It is especially important to recognize them this year as it is our 40th anniversary.
CHEO only exists today because, back in the 1960s, a group of determined volunteers – led by young moms – raised awareness, argued the case, and generated the support to turn the dream of a children’s hospital into a reality. CHEO was founded by the dedication of volunteers and, to this day, our volunteers continue to be a solid foundation allowing us to provide excellent patient care to children and youth in the community. Every day our team of passionate staff, physicians, and volunteers make it possible for kids and families to be their healthiest.
Here is a letter I received last year from a parent which does a great job of explaining how we work together as One Team to make a difference:
"I brought my 22 month old into the CHEO emergency room for what turned out to be a broken leg. When he was at his daycare, he tried to climb out of his crib and fell down “funny”. Every time we moved him, he would shriek in pain. I was calm and composed driving him to the hospital except when I walked through the emergency room doors – I started to cry! I knew it wasn’t life threatening, but I was just overwhelmed, hoping that nothing more serious had happened. In the end, we left with a still in pain toddler, and a cast from his thigh to his toes.
I just have to say that everyone was wonderful – the doctors, nurses, other staff, especially the volunteer you had on that night, who greeted me at the door. He was kind, comforting and even got me a chair while I waited to be triaged. It helped me to calm down and made me feel everything would be alright. What a fantastic set up. I will always remember that gentleman’s kindness.
What a tremendous feeling when we left, to know and appreciate how lucky we are to live in a city with such an extraordinary hospital and staff to be there for us."
Our cherished volunteers…Your efforts, big and small, are appreciated. We are honoured that you choose to spend your free time with us, helping us to help the kids of this community. Together we are One Team. Thank you for everything you do.
Alex Munter
President & CEO
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