Volunteer Spotlight: Char Kramer

Char (center) has been an Angela Hospice volunteer
for almost five years.
For volunteer Char Kramer the idea of becoming a volunteer at Angela Hospice happened through the power of suggestion.

Char had recently retired and was looking for somewhere to volunteer when her friend, and fellow Angela Hospice volunteer, Holly Hodgson mentioned that she was going to sign up to volunteer at Angela Hospice. Char jumped at the chance to volunteer for hospice.

“She told me she was going to sign up for hospice and I thought, ‘What a great idea!’” said Char, whose mother was a hospice patient in Minnesota in 2007.

Char, who has now been a volunteer for almost five years, may not have known a whole lot about Angela Hospice, but she did have firsthand experience of how wonderful hospice care can be. Char said thanks to hospice her mom was able to receive expert care during the last chapter of her life.

“I don’t think anything can beat that,” she said.

So in the fall of 2011 she took the classes to become an Angela Hospice volunteer. She originally volunteered in the Care Center and helped feed patients, something she loved to do, but then she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2012. Due to the radiation treatment she was receiving, she stepped back from volunteering in the Care Center and turned to a new department: development, where she now primarily helps with mailings and the annual events.

“They just sounded fun,” Char said. “I’m a big people person so I thought that would be fun to help out with all these people and get to see some of the events while you’re there.”

Plus, Char knows all the events benefit a really good cause, another bonus to working them. Since she started volunteering in Development Char has worked almost every one of the annual events, ranging from Arbor Day to Laughter Lifts You Up. While the events are all very different Char said she mainly sells raffle tickets in some way, shape, or form at each event. Her favorite part about it? Taking everybody’s money, she joked.

Char (left) primarily sells raffle tickets at many of the
Angela Hospice annual events.
“I just think it’s wonderful how the people are donating to a good cause,” Char said.

She sees it in action too. There was one event where she sold so many tickets that she had to empty her apron three times because of all the sales she had made.

 “Angela Hospice is the trick,” she said. “People come for them.”

Including seven of Char’s friends, who are all attending Laughter Lifts You Up this month and have already told her they want raffle tickets.

“I said, ‘Why do you want the raffle tickets?’ They said, ‘Because it’s for a really good cause.’” Char said

Laughter Lifts You Up is one of Char’s favorite events because she always loves the comedian. She also really likes the fall’s annual Light Up a Life Gala, which often has great music. But she joked that her all-time favorite of the events is the one with the most single men at it.

Char, who also volunteers at her church and for the Michigan Philharmonic, may volunteer primarily in the Development Department, but there is one story from her time in the Care Center that has stuck with her. There was a patient who needed help bathing who went on and on thanking them for their help and telling them how nice they were.

“That memory has stuck with me for so long because we complain about the silliest things, and there she was, so appreciative of everything we did for her,” Char said. “Then I came home and thought, ‘I’m not going to complain about anything anymore.’

“Of course, I probably did the next day,” she laughed. “That was really humbling for me.”

Char’s whole experience volunteering at Angela Hospice has been humbling, among other things.

“I’ve had a lot of volunteer jobs and hospice is one that I really, really enjoy,” she said. “I’ve made so many friends there. I just love it.”

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