Chloe Hays, a Free State High School senior who is a Health Careers Pathways intern, and Paul Flower, information desk volunteer, volunteer at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Who works 75,102 hours for free?
That would be the 927 volunteers of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, whose contributions of time and talent support quality health care in our community.
While nearly 400 adults form the backbone of volunteers at the hospital, the LMH Auxiliary is unique across the state and country because of its comprehensive student programs.
Last year, 249 new college students and 66 junior high and high school students interviewed, oriented and trained for a wide variety of volunteer roles at LMH. Volunteer services also placed 221 students as observers and oriented 80 student interns in hospital departments as a means to further the students’ education. Sixty-three students shadowed directly with physicians as part of the physician shadowing program.
Reaumur Donnally, past president of the LMH Auxiliary and current chairperson of the Scholarship Committee, has said, “We are proud that LMH is the place where many bright health care careers begin. We know that we are growing the future of health care for Lawrence and many other communities right here at LMH.”
To that end, the LMH Auxiliary annually awards $1,000 scholarships to three high school students pursuing health care careers, renewable for four years. For the 2013-2014 school year, there are 11 students receiving scholarship funding.
The Auxiliary raises funds through jewelry, uniform and book sales to help support scholarships, but the most notable source of revenue is the LMH Gift Shop. In 2013, merchandise sales at the Gift Shop and Mario’s Closet totaled $382,307, with proceeds after expenses being reinvested in contributions to the hospital.
In 2013 the Auxiliary committed $65,000 to the hospital, to purchase new hospital beds, a new refrigerator for the Lab, and $10,000 from Mario’s Closet proceeds to support the cost of wigs and prostheses for women who cannot afford them. Mario’s Closet is an image renewal center that provides custom solutions for the visible effects cancer and other illnesses can have on the body, including wig and salon services, mastectomy bras and prostheses, skin care products and more, as well as unique gift items.
In 2014, the Auxiliary is opting to do a large three-year gift to the hospital. The total gift of $159,500 will fund replacement of the nurses’ station and four treatment rooms in the Oncology Center, new hospital beds, and renovation of three patient rooms on the fourth floor.
It’s no surprise that the individual and collective contributions by volunteers and the Auxiliary organization to improving the quality of health care at LMH again have garnered statewide recognition. In November, for the second year in a row, the LMH Auxiliary received the Gold Award for Excellence from the Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas.
This week is National Volunteer Week, which is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. LMH has chosen the theme of “Super Volunteers – Heroes at Work” to recognize and celebrate the amazing talents, skills and power of the individuals who dedicate their time in service to others.
While all our heroes in our eyes, last night some special volunteers were singled out for recognition. The Marguerite Lockwood Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to two outstanding volunteers: Lew Nolan and Helen Cobb. Sam Ho received the Ryan Kanost Student Volunteer of the Year Award. Volunteers with top hours in 2013 were Kristine Furlought and Dianna Nelson, each with more than 700 volunteer hours, and Carl Craig with more than 600 hours.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering at LMH, visit the hospital’s website at lmh.org/volunteer.