Bribie Island resident Gail Satchell “just loves” volunteering. “Every single day is different,” she says.
Ms Satchell makes a four-hour round trip every week to help children and their families at Queensland Children’s Hospital.
As a Woolworths Way Finder and Entertainment Volunteer, she helps children and their families find wards, clinic rooms or clinicians.
And in National Volunteer Week (May 17-23), her advice to those thinking about volunteering is: “Go for it, as you will be blessed beyond your belief".
Over the last four years, Ms Satchell has given more than 370 hours of her time to the children's hospital.
“I’ve made plenty of friends during my time with Children’s Hospital Foundation, some I catch up with regularly outside the hospital,” she says.
“I met a university student studying in Australia from Malaysia and she returned to Australia later with her entire family. They all came to stay with us on Bribie. It was so much fun.
“She’s back in Malaysia now, and unable to return due to border closures, but we keep in touch fortnightly.”
Ms Satchell spent eight-and-a-half years as a tuckshop convener at her son’s school, before volunteering at a local nursing home and then the children’s hospital.
“I just love it,” she says, “some days you just come away with this feeling that your body is overflowing with emotion, because something absolutely exceptional happens.
“I remember a day I was working with the therapy dogs. A little boy was recovering from surgery and begged his dad to let him get out of bed to pat the dogs with the other kids.
“I sat back and thought about how powerful dogs can be and how healing they are.”
“You see kids undergoing these huge journeys, and it really puts things into perspective.
"The way that kids see things is amazing and I feel privileged to be continuously learning from them.”
Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO, Rosie Simpson, said it was important to recognise more than 450 volunteers who have given more than 27,000 hours to the hospital in the past year.
“Volunteers are truly the heart of our organisation, and we couldn’t provide the services we do throughout the hospital and community centres without the dedication, commitment and kindness of our volunteers,” she says.
For more on volunteering at Children’s Hospital Foundation, visit www.childrens.org.au
In the past year, Children’s Hospital Foundation volunteers have:
Committed 27,050 hours of donated support
Provided 8270 free meals to families
Assisted 36,959 families through information desks and Woolworths Way Finding
Provided 10,780 fun interactions through Bedside Play and Pet Therapy programs
Lent out more than 8500 books through the Scholastic Book Bunker
Supported 8003 families while their child was undergoing surgery
Supported 8508 patients in Kidzone – the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s dedicated play space
Provided 243 birthday presents to children in hospital
Provided 2925 cuddles via the Steggles Cuddle Carer program
Provided 2167 toys and games to patients
Figures relate to financial year 2019-20
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