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February, 2016:

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10-16 is National Volunteer Week and Niagara Hospice will honor our exceptional team of volunteers with a Super Star themed luncheon on Friday. We are truly grateful to our 150+ volunteers who give what they can so very unselfishly. Whether it’s providing transportation for a patient, simply holding a hand, helping with fundraising events or watching vigil as a patient breathes his last breath, our volunteers never cease to amaze the staff they work side by side with; and our hospice families are often astounded to learn the person they have received much comfort and support from is a volunteer.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) reports that in the U.S. an estimated 430,000 hospice volunteers provide more than 19 million hours of service to hospice programs every year. Hospice volunteers are truly generous and compassionate individuals, many saying they get more out of volunteering than what they give. In fact, research has shown that volunteering provides not only new social opportunities but also individual health benefits. Research presented by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in a report titled “The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research,” has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Imagine a community without the services we rely so heavily on: hospitals, senior centers, YWCA, YMCA, churches, schools, Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Hospice – and the list goes on. More than likely, many of these services would cease to exist without the generosity of dedicated volunteers. Volunteers made our country strong and continue to be the heart and soul of our communities. The power of volunteerism is far reaching. It can brighten the day of someone who is truly alone, sooth a grieving heart, or feed a hungry child. Thomas Jefferson once said: “I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.” Hospice volunteers know this and will attest to the personal benefits of positive volunteer experiences.

Some of our Niagara Hospice volunteers still work or simply have very busy lives, and are only able to give an hour or two a week of service – but that gift of time means the world to the patients they visit. We are continuing to grow the number of volunteer services we provide to hospice patients and families by recruiting dedicated and compassionate individuals looking for fulfilling volunteer experiences. Both patient related and non-patient related opportunities are available. The next volunteer training will be held from 5 - 9 p.m. on April 26. Simply call 280-0748 or e-mail for more information, to register and to become part of this exceptional team.

Thank you to all the volunteers in our community who serve the many agencies that depend on you every day. American writer and educator, Leo Buscaglia, wrote: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” You make a difference!

On behalf of all the staff, patients and families of Niagara Hospice, I thank you – Niagara Hospice Volunteer. You are treasured for your compassion, generosity, skills, talents and gift of time. Thank you for providing exceptional experiences for our patients, families and our community!

Niagara Hospice has provided end-of-life comfort, care and support since 1988 to over 25,000 Niagara County individuals and families faced with terminal illness. No one is ever denied hospice care due to inability to pay. For more information, visit or call 439-4417.

-- Tricia Degan is director of marketing, PR and volunteer services at Niagara Hospice

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