Devoted to patients after retirement

Meet Heather Faith and Beverley Lough, two Cedars CanSupport volunteers stationed at the Blood Test Centre at Cedars Cancer Centre. Over 200 appointments happen here daily. Emotions can run high since patients may be there for investigation, for follow up, for a research trial, or to ensure they are ready for chemotherapy treatment. Bev and Heather are both on their feet four hours at a time and they’ve never missed a day’s work—that’s right, never! Their devotion has not gone unnoticed by the MUHC. 

“Heather and Bev are energetic, intelligent, and amazing people,” exclaims Virginia Lee, Cedars CanSupport Director and Manager of the Supportive and Palliative Care Programs and Services at the MUHC. “What blows me away is how they problem-solve: they remain cool, calm and always conscientious. We’re so fortunate to have them!” 

A Cedars CanSupport volunteer is always stationed at the blood test centre. It’s the volunteer’s responsibility to make sure that patients are seen in a timely fashion so that there’s no backlog. This can be challenging, especially when patients show up early or late, or they show up not feeling well. “It’s nonstop work over the course of their shift,” notes Virginia. “The morning shift is actually the busiest one, yet that’s when Heather and Bev both want to volunteer.” 

CanSupport volunteers
Bev and Heather are two retired nurses who graduated school within one year of each other. They are both in their eighties and full of energy! 

“I have an early start to my day which sometimes includes a walk before breakfast,” shares Heather. “I leave the house at 7:30 a.m. and drive to the Glen. By eight o’clock, I’m ready to go. I get there and say good morning to everyone who’s already there.” 

“I look forward to Thursdays because that’s when I volunteer,” says Bev. “My motivation comes from within. I find it very important to talk to patients and find answers for them whenever they have questions.” 

Heather and Bev have huge hearts. They both trained as nurses and had extremely fulfilling careers. After their retirement, they felt that volunteering would be an excellent way to remain in touch with patients. Both have volunteered for well over 20 years.  

“I care for the people I meet and so I lean into what my heart is telling me,” Heather says. “Sometimes, that means taking someone by the hand and reminding them that they can be strong.” 

“It is very rewarding work. We get back as much as we give,” says Bev. 

An indispensable role 

Every single volunteer plays an indispensable role in encouraging patients and bolstering MUHC staff. We’re so grateful for the work that volunteers do, especially when the work is challenging. 

“I see the love and care that volunteers give to patients,” says Racha Hajjar, CanSupport Volunteer Coordinator. “Every week, they volunteer with passion. We’re all very lucky to be surrounded by people like them!”