Volunteering Excellence at TBRHSC

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Donna Brown (centre) was honoured with the HAAO title of Provincial Life Member for her volunteer service and leadership. She is seen here with fellow volunteers Rose Kendall (left) and Dr. Burt Sellick (right)
Donna Brown (centre) was honoured with the HAAO title of Provincial Life Member for her volunteer service and leadership. She is seen here with fellow volunteers Rose Kendall (left) and Dr. Burt Sellick (right)
Donna Brown (centre) was honoured with the HAAO title of Provincial Life Member for her volunteer service and leadership. She is seen here with fellow volunteers Rose Kendall (left) and Dr. Burt Sellick (right)
Donna Brown (centre) was honoured with the HAAO title of Provincial Life Member for her volunteer service and leadership. She is seen here with fellow volunteers Rose Kendall (left) and Dr. Burt Sellick (right)

THUNDER BAY – Health News – If you have walked through the front entrance of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), you have probably been greeted by the friendly volunteers at the Information Desk in the main lobby.

One of those volunteers, Donna Brown, has been a dedicated volunteer for the past 11 years. She has served at the Information Desk, the annual Skin Cancer Screening Clinic and is an active member of the Volunteer Association to the TBRHSC, and has acted as secretary to the Board since 2002.

It comes as no surprise that Donna was selected as a Provincial Life Member by the Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario (HAAO) in November 2012.

Provincial Life Members are nominated by their respective auxiliaries for their volunteer service of 10 years or more, their leadership, and all-round member support. Donna is also an active participant in the Patient Family Advisory Committee as part of the Accessibility Advisory Team.

The TBRHSC Volunteer Association nominated Donna for the HAAO title of Provincial Life Member. This prestigious award, the highest honour for a Volunteer Association member in Ontario, is presented to auxiliary members in recognition of their accomplishments and many years of loyal service. The presentation of Provincial Life Members is a ceremonious part of the annual HAAO convention, complete with a piper, town crier and formal banquet.

Donna was selected for the honour, but just days before she was to attend the HAAO Convention in November with fellow volunteers Dolores Mechtab, Judy Gerolami and Laurette Patriquin, she fell and was unable to make the trip to Toronto. “I have now joined the ‘slip and fall club,” says Brown.

Instead, the TBRHSC Volunteer Association will honour Donna at the Superior North regional spring conference.

Donna, a 60 year cancer survivor, attributes her interest in volunteering at the hospital to her own experiences with the healthcare system. The fact that her mother was a nurse could also be a factor. Her granddaughter is also a nurse at TBRHSC.

The former office manager says the Information Desk is the ideal volunteer position for her. “I like to help people and I can’t help them physically,” says Donna. “I’ve been at a desk greeting people all of my life.”

The TBRHSC Volunteer Association exists to support the staff of TBRHSC and provide compassionate and caring support to patients, families and visitors. In addition, the Association is a major fundraising contributor to TBRHSC. Since 1999, the Volunteer Association has provided $1,386,415 to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. Those funds have supported world-class healthcare here in Northwestern Ontario, including the purchase of medical equipment such as infant warmers, epidural pumps, bladder scanners, a hemodialysis machine, vital sign monitors, bed systems, stretchers and wheelchairs.

From October to December 2012, they raised over $14,000 through their Two-Bit Auction, Christmas Craft and Bake Sale, and Seasons Appreciation Day.

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