Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Wolodkiewicz

Name: Sarah Wolodkiewicz

How long have you been a volunteer?
14 years

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
Home care, makes salads once a month for family dinners in the Care Center, and has worked fundraisers.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
A friend of mine was caring for her mother at home and she had enlisted the help of hospice. She just had wonderful things to say about it. It wasn’t Angela Hospice but that’s how I learned about the whole concept. I thought, I think that’s something I could do at some point.

Then I saw an article in the newspaper, one of the Observers, about volunteering and coming to a training session for a hospice in Plymouth. So I cut that out and put it on my refrigerator, where it stayed for probably another three or four years. Then finally, I had a child and she went to school, then I had time that I could devote to it.

Why Angela Hospice?
Basically because I live really close.

Favorite part about volunteering?
The caregivers that I have met in their homes. I’ve met some really beautiful people. I don’t know how they do it. I mean 24/7, it’s their life. In some cases it goes on for years. A lot of people wait too long to get hospice and a couple of months

Sarah often helps prepare meals for patients.
What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
The patient that I had for two years was younger than I was and had ALS. She couldn’t talk and we used the letter board to communicate. She had a great sense of humor. There was more than one occasion when I had to help her use the bathroom and we were laughing so hard I thought we were going to fall over. She was heavier than I was and we were trying to do it and she just starts giggling. She’s shaking from laughing so hard. That just kind of put me at ease because I thought, I don’t normally do this. But when a person has to go you don’t say no, you’ll have to wait for another hour-and-a-half until someone else gets here. That whole scene she had such a great sense of humor about my struggling to get her just up from her chair and over to the bathroom. It doesn’t seem like it was a huge thing but she weighed more than I did and it wasn’t my expertise. That was a funny moment.

More recently I had a placement where it turns out I knew the caregiver. I had met her years ago at a Bible study. When she opened the door the first time I went, you could just see this relief over her knowing that it was going to be someone she knew. That always amazes me that people take me into their homes, sight unseen, and trust me with their person for two hours. I think that tells you, one, how much they need the break, and two, how trusting they are. But I could see her body language…like, I know you. And then she smiled. It was a neat feeling and I thought, oh good, she’s going to be comfortable with this right away. That was neat.

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