San celebrates its volunteers

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Members of the San Help Team.

Sydney Adventist Hospital is celebrating National Volunteer Week, recognising the hundreds of volunteers who donate their time to support the work of the San.

The San Help Team, affectionally known as the “yellow army”, comprises more than 460 volunteers who contribute around 60,000 hours per year. They work side-by-side with staff on the wards and in the many departments.

Some of their duties include assisting patients with their meals while keeping them company, running errands like buying newspapers, helping people find their way around the hospital, and preparing food and serving customers at the SanSnax cafe.

San Help Team manager Patrina McLean said the volunteers are much loved and an invaluable part of the hospital.

“The volunteer program at the San started back in July 1973 with Pink Ladies,” she said.

“Then a new volunteer program was set up in 2000 where the pink changed to rays of sunshine yellow . . . and has grown from strength to strength.  The tally of volunteer hours contributed to the hospital up until May this year is 1,500,000 hours!”

Among the dedicated volunteers is 83-year-old grandmother Barb Ramsay, who says being part of the San Help Team has given her life purpose and focus since her husband Owen passed away more than 14 years ago.

Her tasks include feeding unwell patients, making cups of tea for chemotherapy patients, running errands and keeping patients company.

“One time I simply held the hand of a patient who had Parkinson’s who was waiting for her husband,” she said. “I love the fact that we can do small things like that to help the wonderful nurses so they can do something else.

“I don’t think I do a lot but giving to people can help brighten their day.”

National Volunteer Week is held annually to recognise the generous contribution of Australia’s volunteers. This year’s theme is “Give a little. Change a lot”.

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