From opera singer to intensive care volunteer at the Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital (The Neuro)

Mishael Eusebio is a professional opera singer originally from Toronto. He has lived in the Montreal area for the past three years. Since last fall, he has also been volunteering at the Neuro's intensive care unit, once a week.

Mishael Eusebio
Mishael Eusebio

"I love opera and enjoy my career and all the opportunities it brings me. However, the more I evolve, the more I realize that there are other areas that interest me. I chose to volunteer at the McGill University Health Centre because I'm currently considering a career in the health and social services field," he explains.

An essential role in the quality of patient care

During his volunteer sessions at the Neuro, Mishael simply doesn't see the time pass. "I help patients during mealtime, if the opportunity arises,” he says. "I interact with them and their family members or friends. I think I bring them some sense of comfort and warmth at one of the most difficult times in their lives, and it's very rewarding for me to feel that I'm making a small difference".

Stories to last a lifetime

Mishael meets many people during his volunteer shifts, but he will always remember one patient in particular. She suffered from aphasia, a neurological communication disorder characterized by the loss of the ability to express and understand language. " Because of her diagnosis, she had had to resign from her teaching position at a CEGEP. Despite this difficult decision, she told me that it had made her realize that love triumphed over all else, even over career development. I introduced this patient to my fellow volunteers because I wanted them to witness her great wisdom. I still think of her every week," Mishael says.

Tips for future volunteers

It's sometimes hard to find time in our busy schedules to volunteer, but Mishael considers it well worth the effort. "I've realized that my passion is helping people, regardless of our different life trajectories and current realities. If I had one piece of advice for someone wanting to start volunteering, it would be to be gentle and patient with yourself. It may be difficult at first, but persevere, because it will be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life," he says.

From heart to action: become a volunteer at the McGill University Health Centre!