Making hospital stays a little happier on the Coffs Coast

Helen Mears with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazard, who acknowledged her 40 years of service as a Pink Lady at Coffs Harbour Health Campus in 2019 (before COVID and physical distancing).

 

VOLUNTEERS are back in action across the Mid North Coast Local Health District, post strict COVID protocols, doing the little things that matter a lot when you’re in hospital.

Helen Mears, president of the Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies who volunteers many of her hours every day in the Coffs Hospital gift shop told News Of The Area, “I just love the shop, and I love the people who come in and I love all the staff.

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“I’d like to get the trolley back up and running around the wards – it’s the tiny things that make the difference to someone’s day.

“It’s the best job,” smiled Helen.

Helen started volunteering when her daughter went to preschool, 42 years ago, working with The Pink Ladies organisation.

“I started in the old hospital in Victoria Street, visiting patients in the wards doing their flowers and purchasing personal items like soap or tissues for them,” said Helen.

“Then we got the trolley and could wheel that around the wards which was easier.”

Next step was opening the coffee shop under the hospital where they made sandwiches and served hot and cold drinks.

Today, in the new hospital, that coffee shop has grown to a new much bigger site and the gift shop is also thriving.

The Mid North Coast Local Health District has about 600 volunteers helping patients and staff at seven hospitals and several community health centres in the region.

“They provide thousands of volunteer hours each year in support of patients and their families and raise tens of thousands of dollars to purchase medical equipment and patient comfort items,” Sharon Fuller, Corporate Relations Coordinator, Mid North Coast Local Health District told News Of The Area.

“Every staff member knows how valuable these generous people are, bringing smiles and helping hands to our hospitals every day.

“At Coffs Harbour we have the Pink Ladies, General Volunteers, Palliative Care and Cancer Services volunteers, Music in the Hospital, community support dogs, Red Cross and Pastoral Care.”

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

Volunteers Fay Ratcliffe and Helen Mears ready to welcome new volunteers to Mid North Coast Local Health District.

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