Volunteer Spotlight: Deborah Diehr

Deborah Diehr at Balanced Life Massage Studio in Westland, Michigan.
“Whenever someone talks about hospice, I always mention that I am a volunteer for Angela,” said Deborah Diehr, a four year Angela Hospice volunteer.

When Debbie isn’t working full time for a durable medical equipment company, she is busy owning and managing her own massage business at Balanced Life Massage Studio in Westland, Michigan.

Her background in massage therapy has made her a treasured volunteer here at Angela Hospice. Debbie volunteers in the Care Center, but spends most of her time visiting patients’ homes to give massages.

For Debbie, knowing she is making a difference in someone's final journey, and being able to give them comfort and peace, is what she cherishes most about volunteering.

As for the most challenging part? “Not being able to get to every patient Lora sends to me.”

With working a full time job and running her own business, Debbie has many demands on her time. “I can only do what I can, but I feel bad that I can't do more,” said Debbie, a mother of four and grandmother of eight, who is always eager to help others.

Debbie was introduced to Angela Hospice during her mom’s passing, after learning about Angela through a friend.

“We contacted Angela and they sent a nurse out to do her initial assessment, and broke the news to us that she only had days to live,” Debbie said.

Although her mother passed away just a week later, Angela offered bereavement services to Debbie and that left a big impression.

“When I went to massage school, Teri, the Director of Volunteer Services for Angela Hospice, gave a presentation to our class, and I knew that I needed to pursue the volunteer program at Angela,” Debbie said.

Teri’s presentation wasn’t the only event that led to Debbie’s decision to sign up for the volunteer classes.

“When my dad was going through his last days, I was going to massage school at the same time, and I gave my dad a massage just before he passed away,” Debbie said.

This too inspired Debbie to volunteer; she wanted to be able to use her skills to help others like her dad. Massage therapy can benefit hospice patients not only physically, but psychologically as well. 

For Debbie, finding out that one of her patients actually knew her dad made it all come full circle.

“They worked together years ago,” she said. “It made me realize just how small our world really is.”

For more information about Angela Hospice’s volunteer program, visit www.angelahospice.org/volunteer.

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