By Ruth Wise, Bloomhill Volunteer. 

Seven years ago I arrived at Bloomhill Op Shop in Buderim ready to volunteer - for knitting knitted knockers. Shock horror I was at the wrong place.

Like many in our community I didn’t know about The Bloomhill Centre on Ballinger Rd. 

I remember standing in reception and looking into a beautiful sitting room just like home with music, books and jigsaw. Now we can see into the kitchen. Chris with her apron on cooking up a storm. Yummy.

I found the lovely, friendly Val who I was here to meet and discover how I could volunteer and make a difference. I joined the transport department and probably even did a drive the very next day.

Driving has become my passion,

I enjoy the one on one with clients. Such amazing life stories. I have the privilege of seeing and hearing our clients appreciation of Bloomhill. Often I hear how special their nurse is. What a difference we all make.

A few stories from my drives with the Bloomhill Client Transport Service...

My first client was an elderly man and his wife. Before Bloomhill it would take two buses and a train, plus the return journey. This would take them all day, even for a few hours of treatment.

There was a lady who prepared a container of freshly cut fruit for her driver to enjoy whilst waiting in the car. Another young lady is a mum of four children. She speaks proudly of her family and mentions worries for one daughter not coping with mum’s cancer.

I mention as we drive that Bloomhill has counselling services for family. By the time I collected her she was all smiles. She had phoned Bloomhill and an appointment had been made for the following week for her daughter.

Sometimes we had KFC on the way home. This brightened her day and broke the routine of doctors and treatment. There is little personal time for a young mum with cancer.

Then there is ‘my girl’. Cancer at 10, now 14, with weekly chemo in Brisbane for the next year. What an amazing person. She has taught me so much.

Mum chills in the back whilst us two talk food and exchange recipes. My music tastes have become a lot more modern and my music play lists have improved greatly.

On the way, mum will have a snooze. It’s not easy being a working mum and loving a sick child. Sometimes my girl also has a sleep after a big day. I have precious cargo on board.

It is a great feeling that mum has the confidence in me to be able to let go and rest knowing the Bloomhill car will deliver them safely home each week, after week.

Another area I support with my volunteering is the in home Buddy Service.

I was paired with a 98 year old lady, her stories are amazing. She is studying to be a chiropractor. She lived on site in a tent with no floor. Delivered mail with her dad in the days of horse and cart.

When I come she is happy to stay at home and share one of my hot scones and tell stories. My being there enables her son some time to attend his hobby club knowing mum was happy and safe.

Mum would always leave half a scone for ‘my bill’. Not sure why she did this as I always left the remaining scones for the freezer. I always remember her asking for ‘lots of butter’.

It’s funny how the smallest things can make a difference in someone’s life. Just my being there actually benefited them both. I certainly gained a lot from that experience. Love and support comes in all forms.

Babysitting. 

Babysitting client’s children is usually just an hour or so whilst a parent with cancer accesses care and support at the Bloomhill Centre.

One little girl I remember fondly loves playing teacher in the blue cuby house nestled among the gardens. While volunteering in the café I met some new Bloomhill neighbours. They come for lunch and their boy plays on the new equipment.

From the parents and very happy kids I see the difference this makes in their day. Thank you so much to Sarah and the fundraising team for bringing this new playground to life in partnership with local business. It is amazing.

I am sure you have been told there is an open door policy at Bloomhill. Well guess what – it’s true.

Thank you to Alex who manages the volunteer department and Trish who heads up the clinical services team. Many a times I have sought advice on sensitive issues. I have always felt listed to, accepted, appreciated and that my input has been valued.

And to our amazing nurses – past and present. In particular I must thank Kirsty and Team Adem for the donated massage vouchers for ‘my girl’. I see and hear about the pleasure and the pain relief this gives her.

Tuesday always seems extra special on the café deck at Bloomhill. Seeing Vanessa and Richard and their volunteer garden gnomes working to maintain the beautiful grounds we all adore. 

The smell of hot delicious food being cooked in the kitchen. Those smells always bring the masses in for a coffee and cake. All are welcome at Bloomhill.

In fact, for quite a while I never knew who was a volunteer and who were staff. That for me says it all.

I have volunteered in three States in my married life. Bloomhill is by far the Tops. 

In summary I feel rewarded, appreciated and a valued team member. Volunteering here has certainly helped me grow as a person.

Thank you Bloomhill.

 

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