Every year, big-hearted volunteers at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) work tirelessly to bring smiles, comfort and respite to women and children battling serious illnesses, through the hospital’s volunteer programmes.
“Care is so much more than delivering medical treatment, and we are delighted and honoured that members of the community of all ages and backgrounds are joining in our mission of providing compassionate care that makes patients feel better from the inside out,” shares Assistant Director of Nursing, Ms Teresa Ng, who leads the KK Alpine Blossoms Breast Cancer Support Group.
In a myriad of ways, volunteers at KKH play integral roles in making a difference to the lives of patients. They conduct play sessions with children in the clinics and wards to dispel fear and apprehension, and bring music and performances to provide times of relief and distraction to patients along their journey to recovery.
Many volunteers are also courageous survivors of illnesses who return to partner KKH in caring and assisting others through support groups such as the KK Alpine Blossoms Breast Cancer Support Group, Women’s Cancer Support Group and Menopause Support Group.
“Their warm hearts and cheerful smiles are a source of strength and hope for our patients and their families, and greatly enrich our staff’s lives as well. Our volunteers are indeed very precious to us,” says Ms Ng.
BRINGING JOY TO PATIENTSMs Tan Shumin, a recipient of the KKH Outstanding Volunteer Award 2017.
Ms Tan Shumin has been putting smiles on patients’ faces for six years, as an active member of KKH’s Ward Entertainment programme and the Caring Clown Unit.
The 26-year-old leads a group of long-time friends in engaging young patients through songs, magic tricks, story-telling and balloonsculpting, providing them distraction from pain or unease while recuperating in an unfamiliar environment.
“Every session in the ward is always fulfi lling,” shares Ms Tan. “It is very heartening to see smiles on patients' faces, their families joining in our sing-along and activities, and how their spirits are livened up by our presence."
The road to recovery can be fi lled with uncertainties, and even the strongest may need a helping hand or appreciate an encouraging word.
“When I see how the hospital staff and families interact with patients – especially those who are visually impaired and bedbound – their care and unconditional love really touches me. Each time I volunteer, I am constantly reminded to always love, care and cherish the people around me. It gives me more drive to do more and keeps me motivated to volunteer,” Ms Tan adds.
A FRIEND IN TIMES OF NEED
Ms Susan Ginsberg, a recipient of the KKH Distinguished Volunteer Award 2017.
Ms Susan Ginsberg, a 20-year veteran volunteer and core member of the Women’s Cancer Support Group (WCSG) at KKH, supports women battling gynaecological cancer and their families through activities such as art therapy and counselling.
“It is never easy fi nding out that you have cancer. When I knew I had cancer, I was in pieces,” Ms Ginsberg recounts. “But after my surgery at KKH, I gained strength physically and emotionally each day, and when the opportunity came for me to give back, I seized it and have not looked back since.”
Many volunteers of the WCSG are also cancer survivors who have fought the battle themselves.
“We provide a listening ear to patients and their families, and most importantly, we assure them that they are not alone in the journey to recovery,” Ms Ginsberg shares.
“Today, KKH has become my second home. You have made me feel better – in health and as a person – as I experience the beauty of giving hope and joy to others going through similar situations.”
This article was first published in KKH Special Delivery Volume 66, Issue 4