Volunteer Spotlight: Marilyn Ling

Name:  Marilyn Ling

How long have you been a volunteer? Over 10 years

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
I sing in the choir. We meet the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. We try to sing patriotic songs, and uplifting music for the patients and their friends and family that come to visit. I also spend time helping out with the mailings. In the past, I’ve helped out with the desserts at the volunteer dinner. I did that for a couple years.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Both my parents were in hospice care, and I just wanted to give back. My mom was in hospice around 25 years ago. Back then the whole concept of hospice was a little new, but our family really embraced it. I wanted to get involved and volunteer, and that lead me to Angela Hospice.

Why Angela Hospice?
I chose Angela Hospice because I am a resident of Livonia.

Marilyn Ling and fellow volunteer Kathryn Trudeau
singing in the Care Center as part of the
Angela Hospice choir.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I really enjoy the choir. People really like the music and sometimes patients and their families join in and sing with us. We will often ask the patients if they have a favorite song, and we will add that to our music book. Especially the men and women who have done military service, we will try and play their armed service song, and interact with them that way.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I also used to sell raffle tickets, in the summer time, for the Light Up a Life Gala. One day it had started to rain so we had decided to pack up and I looked over and there was a lady standing there. I asked her if there was anything I could help her with before we pack up. She asked what we were doing and I told her that we were with Angela Hospice and we were conducting a fundraiser. She went on to say that her son had just passed away this morning from throat cancer and that she just didn’t know what to do. So I gave her the number to our bereavement program so she could talk to somebody. I thought, now this is how you can really give back to the community and help people out. I think the main thing that people don’t always realize is that at Angela there is no charge for bereavement services or to talk to a social worker. Angela has so many amazing programs to help families get through these difficult times.  

Volunteer Harvey Fox pays I.T. forward

Even when you’ve been volunteering your whole adult life, you never quite know what will come next. Just ask Harvey Fox, who’s been an Angela Hospice volunteer since 2014, and has volunteered at other organizations for years as well. He went through Angela Hospice’s volunteer training thinking he would help by visiting with patients, or maybe working in maintenance or hospitality – but he ended up assisting in Information Technology.

Perhaps it’s not too surprising, considering Harv spent 28 years as a software developer, then another 16 years teaching computer classes. But he hadn’t imagined all the ways his I.T. skills would benefit Angela Hospice.

“I only work four or so hours a week in the office, but I see that my time has really helped in many concrete ways,” said Harv.

Harv has helped in multiple departments, developing user-friendly tools to help staff work more efficiently. And as much as the employees he helps are eager to express their gratitude to him, Harvey says it’s rewarding for him as well.

“It has truly been a blessing for me to tap into my IT skills and knowledge once again,” Harv said. In fact, he’s found that volunteering in general has always been rewarding for him.

“I must admit that as a dedicated volunteer, I have gained more than I have given,” Harv said. And one of those gifts changed his life forever.

“The most valuable gift I received from volunteering is meeting my wife when we were serving at Providence Hospital,” he said. The two celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary in July.

Harvey Fox helps Angela Hospice with a variety of 

projects. He said, "I remember being overjoyed
someone actually offered me the opportunity 

to once 

apply my experience and knowledge
within the 
field of information technology 


good of the organization."
So what motivated Harv to choose Angela Hospice as the recipient of his time and talents?

“In a word…Mission! I believe that human life is the most precious thing on Earth,” Harv said. And this is something he sees reflected in the way Angela Hospice’s caring mission is enacted each day. He also appreciates the “family-like” atmosphere he sees in the organization.

“Working for Angela Hospice,” Harv said, “and being a member of such a loving ‘family,’ is not only a wonderful experience that brings me great joy, but a real energizer for my soul!”

In addition to Angela Hospice and Providence Hospital, Harv’s volunteer activities over the years have included projects for the Catholic Church, St. Vincent de Paul, and Schoolcraft College, among others.

“Volunteering has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had,” he said. “Volunteering is a way for me to give back to the community, in some small way, what others have done for me ‘in big ways’ during my lifetime. In fact, I plan on continuing to volunteer as long as I have good physical health and my mind can still function logically.”

And for all that time, Angela Hospice will be grateful for his service.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Ann Desjarlais

Name: Mary Ann Desjarlais

How long have you been a volunteer?
I have been a volunteer for 12 years

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
I help with fundraisers, make deliveries to patients’ homes, work on mailings, and do home visits and respite care.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I became a volunteer when I retired. I wanted to do something worthwhile with my time.

Why Angela Hospice?
I became familiar with Angela Hospice when my dad was there. I was inspired after seeing the level of care he received.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I love meeting the people I come in contact with. The patients and families are so grateful.

Mary Ann sells raffle tickets at many of Angela  
Hospice's events.
What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I was doing respite care with a patient that had Alzheimer's. She never showed any recognition toward her husband. One day, her husband came home and sat next to her. She looked at him with recognition in her eyes. She put her head on his shoulders and the two of them just sat there and enjoyed the moment. It was such a beautiful thing to see.

Employee Spotlight: Joan Lee

Name, title: Joan Lee, Bereavement Social Worker

How long have you worked here?
23 years.

What made you decide to work here?
I wanted to work at a place that provided very dedicated care and I was in the process of switching jobs. I drove by Angela Hospice before they even had the driveway in and I said, “hospice.” I had also just lost my 46-year-old dear friend. I also had a lot of losses in my life so I had experience with death.

So as I passed Angela Hospice I thought, “Now that would be a place where there would be dedicated people working…it would be more like a vocation.”

Sister Giovanni and two other social workers interviewed me, and I was offered the position.

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
I had never heard of it before but I was just driving by and the whole concept of hospice – and after the death of my friend hospice was already in my head – so when I saw the word “hospice” I thought, “I think I can do that.”

So I asked the mother of the dear friend who had died – who had known me since I was 16 – I asked her what she thought, whether I could do that type of work, and another best friend who would always tell me the truth, and they both said yes. Then I applied.

What’s a typical day like for you?
We pretty much see clients one after the other. We also have the support groups and we have to do phone work assessments. So we’re pretty busy. That’s pretty much what we do.

What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
My favorite part is the people. Not only my clients, who are very special and very dear – and this is a very gratifying job that we have here in bereavement. It’s very fulfilling because we’re able to guide and companion these people through this very terrible time in their lives to the point where they can live happily again. I think that’s very gratifying.

But beyond that, the people who work here are very similar in nature. Their goal is to provide dedicated care and everybody here is pretty doggone nice. That’s the best part about Angela Hospice.

Joan with fellow bereavement team members. 
What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
There are a lot of special moments where you meet people and help them. I don’t know if I have one special moment because there are so many moments with special people who have died – the first three years I worked here I did home care and then I moved into the Bereavement Department.

There was one very special patient who really died with a smile on her face and couldn’t wait to go to Jesus. I never saw that before and I’ve never seen it after. Every day she would say to her kids who surrounded her, “Maybe today I’ll go to Jesus.” When she did, she had a beautiful rosy face and a smile. It was beautiful. 


A new way to super-charge your Walk of Remembrance

Everydayhero is a new tool that Walk of Remembrance participants can use to make an even bigger impact on Angela Hospice and the community.

If you are walking in remembrance of a loved one, invite others to join you as virtual team members! Just visit our page on Everydayhero and click the green “Start Fundraising” button:

The Mimi's Little Sweethearts team at the 2016 Walk
of Remembrance.
In under five minutes, you’ll be able to customize your own team fundraiser page and easily share it with family, friends, and coworkers on social media. 

For more on the Walk Remembrance and how to start a team, visit our event page here.