In 2006 I became a cancer patient at North York General Hospital. I spent five weeks at NYGH including two weeks in the intensive care unit. The hope was very slim. I realized just how short life could be. Volunteers would visit me, delivered papers and food, and provided all sorts of services. They made a great impact on me and my recovery, and I was always happy to see them. One year later I went back to work. I could not believe that I made it this far. My perspective towards life changed fundamentally. I don’t take things for granted.
One day when I was walking around the area, I met a lady and we started chatting. She told me she was going to Better Living, a community centre in the area. There was an open house that day, and she asked me if I could join her. So I did. First I became a member, then a volunteer. I am glad I did. I was connecting the dots for my search to volunteer in my community. What a blessing that today I am able to do my daily chores and to also volunteer at Better Living and the Thompson House. It is like a dream come true. At first, I was helping in the kitchen, then the Adult Day Program (ADP). At ADP I was having fun because I looked like I was one of the Clients because I am in the same age group. I was getting kick out of it, but then I had to take some time off for two surgeries, total knee replacement and kidney surgery. After my surgeries, I returned to Better Living although unable to do the work at ADP. Since I couldn’t stand up for long periods of time TJ, Program Assistant Volunteer Services, assigned me to the front desk. A few months later, she asked me if I could volunteer at Thompson House. Of course, I was happy to hear that. Now, I am chatting with clients and/or their families, doing various kinds of admin work, and I am also learning a lot about what kind of services or programs available at Better Living.
I also started using some of the services, like IRIDE, Four Seasons Connections myself. Better Living is giving me the opportunity to continue using the abilities I did in my paid work life. I am happy I can still carry out tasks entrusted to me. At the same time, I am learning about the services and care Better Living has to offer. My life experience has been enhanced a lot by volunteering at Better Living. I am able to apply my abilities and experience from my career and continue learn new applications and technology. Volunteering is connecting me to the world outside of my home. I am interacting with people. I am still able to perform and have a purpose. It is very gratifying.