Earlier, we asked HuffPost readers to send us their stories of service to the community. This story was sent to us by Richard Carmichael, who told us of his work with Hospice Toronto, a haven for those diagnosed with a terminal illness.
A few years ago I was introduced to the world of Hospice and Palliative Care through a project I was working on to help deliver volunteer training for people in remote areas using the Internet.
I was inspired so much by the work of Hospice and their dedicated teams of volunteers. I decided to take the training myself to get a better idea of how I could help them take their volunteer training from the classroom to the web. Once in training, I was so incredibly moved by the truly inspirational work that these people do that I could not help but be drawn in and ultimately make the commitment to work as a volunteer myself.
Since the early days, I have participated in a series of volunteer training courses designed to help me help people from very young children to adults and seniors confront an illness that will ultimately take their life. Such diagnoses cause such fear, such a stigma, and yet these people are incredibly courageous. What I have learned is that although their days are numbered, these people are are still very much alive and want to keep living life to the fullest until the very end.
Our job as volunteers (though sometimes daunting) is incredibly rewarding as we work to give them as much peace, dignity and the greatest quality of life possible under the circumstances. There is no greater feeling when you can't add days to the life that you have, to be able to add life to the days that are left for someone facing the end of their journey.
Recently I tapped into Facebook, Linkedin and other various social media tools to raise almost $5000 in ten days to help fund the work of Hospice and Palliative Care organizations in communities all across Canada. Together, our network of volunteers all across Canada did the same to the tune of over a million dollars with a national event called Hike for Hospice.
I can not speak for all of us, but I can say that second to having kids, Volunteering for Hospice Toronto is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. If I only knew, I would have started this work a lot sooner.
For more information on Hospice Toronto, visit http://www.hospicetoronto.ca/.
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