Four years ago, Janet Gorton had her first volunteer experience with Hospice Care of the Lowcountry. When asked why she is a continued donor, volunteer, and Board of Directors member she stated, “My experience volunteering my very first time with Hospice Care of the Lowcountry changed my outlook on end-of-life care.”
Janet volunteered for a patient named Emily. Emily and Janet had regular visits where they would play cards, chat, and just enjoy time with each other. Emily’s caregiver was able to have some personal time to relax knowing their loved one was being cared for by a patient-family volunteer. Emily’s birthday was approaching and every year for as long as she could remember her family baked her a cake. When inquiring about her favorite cake Janet learned that Emily didn’t care for cake but had been participating in the ritual because of her family’s joy in doing the act of kindness. Janet asked Emily what would be better than cake and Emily replied I would love for a blueberry pie!
Janet joined Emily and her family for cake on her 84th birthday, Janet said it was a lovely gathering. After the family left Janet surprised Emily with a fresh baked Blueberry Pie. Janet went on to say, “As we sat there eating blueberry pie, giggling like schoolgirls I realized how important it is for patients to have a patient-family volunteer. It can be difficult for a patient to communicate their wants and needs to family even something like wanting a blueberry pie. I donate and volunteer with HCL because I believe everyone deserves and needs to transition at the end-of-life with respect and dignity intact. If I can provide one person with their blueberry pie and get one smile like Emily’s it is all worthwhile.”