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Date: 27 October 2020
Members' profiles: Jenny Buchan
Retired teacher Jenny Buchan loves her volunteering work at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) – because it gets her out of doing the housework!
Jenny, aged 74, knows all about hospitals after teaching young patients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for many years but her association with QEHB began when a close friend became ill.
“Living in Harborne I had always thought of the QEHB as my local hospital and had regarded it affectionately as it had treated various friends for relatively minor conditions,” she explains.
“But that changed when a friend had cancer and I realised just how important the hospital was to people from far and wide and what a breadth of knowledge and experience there was available to be used in their treatments.”
Her friend eventually lost their battle with cancer, but Jenny was determined to give something back to the hospital – initially taking a job as a clerk in the liver unit after she finished teaching and retirement approached.
“On retirement I then began volunteering and also became a member of the Trust,” she went on. “The Trust newsletters keep me well informed about developments and the wider issues at the hospital, while volunteering gives me a chance to learn more about how small sections function and to interact with both staff and patients.”
Jenny actually has two volunteer roles at QEHB – with The Cancer Information and Support Service in the Cancer Centre’s Patrick Room on Monday and with the QEHB Charity on Tuesday and she is a familiar face in the atrium when the charity host a stand there.
“I have been volunteering in the Patrick Room for twelve years and find it both challenging and very rewarding,” she said.
“The room is open to everyone without appointment, which means that we never know who may come in or what questions we might be asked. We have a vast amount of information at hand to give people and are always ready to try to find more if necessary.
“Sometimes people just come back for a chat and to tell us of their progress, which is lovely.
“Working in the QEHB Charity office gives me a completely different view as they are concerned with the whole hospital and raising money for a myriad of projects, from large ones such as supporting Fisher House and buying equipment to individual patients being lent laptops or provided with toiletries.
“Hopefully I can continue in both of these roles for some time yet – and an added bonus is that it gets me out of doing the housework!”
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