Ask anyone who has experienced hospice, and they will tell you that the people who work within it make all the difference. Hospice is where people go to live the rest of their life with peace, dignity, and comfort. It takes a team of selfless, caring, and special humans to make hospice the beautiful thing that it is. And the lifeblood of any hospice organization are the volunteers who work tirelessly and often behind the scenes.
Every year in April, we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month; this year is no different. This year, we highlight four remarkable people who donate their time and talents to serve our hospice patients and their families. Two volunteers, Mollie and Diane, are celebrating 20 years with us! Please take the time to read their unique stories of why they volunteer for hospice and the difference it makes in the lives of others.
Meet Mollie Elder
Mollie Elder has been a Hospice of Redmond volunteer for 20 years. Why hospice? She said that her mother would have “lost her mind” if not for the help her grandmother received when being served by hospice.
“My grandmother was in hospice for nine months, so it was really hard,” said Mollie. “When I was at her funeral, I met the main nurse who served Grandma, and she was such a caring person, I thought I would volunteer for hospice when I retire.”
Her mom also volunteered.
“I came from a family where women made quilts and cooked and knew that was how I could help,” said Mollie.
Mollie leads our sewing group, which gets together the fourth Thursday of every month to create quilts for hospice patients, fidget mats for Alzheimer’s patients, dining scarves (aka bibs), hospital gowns, rice bags, and anything else that is needed. She just finished sewing a memory bear.
“Making memory bears is very rewarding to me,” said Mollie. “Knowing that I am using someone’s garment, such as Grandpa’s favorite shirt or Grandma’s favorite apron, to make this special bear is lovely. But I was a little uncomfortable the first time I chopped up a Pendleton shirt to make a bear for someone.”
It is the small things that matter the most. So when a recent client asked that a worn knee in her husband’s overalls be incorporated into the bear, Mollie rose to the challenge.
“When I can hand over the bear to the family member, good tears are shed, which is very rewarding,” said Mollie.
Thank you, Mollie, for donating your time and talent for the past 20 years.
Meet Diane Duke
Diane Duke has also been a hospice volunteer for 20 years. When asked why she chose to volunteer in hospice, she shared that she was inspired by all the wonderful people who helped care for her father during his final day and wanted to inspire others in the same way.
Passionate about helping others, Diane recognizes the relationships that come from serving. Over the years, she has volunteered in many ways, such as providing direct patient care, helping organize Camp Sunrise, and feeding those who attend Soup and Support, the monthly bereavement lunch for families.
“There are so many things that we can do (to help) that may seem small and little to us but can be huge to someone else,” said Diane.
Camp Sunrise is a perfect example of this.
“During camp, I help with registration and see the angst and concern on the children’s faces as they arrive,” said Diane. “By the end of camp, their faces are transformed, and it is powerful to see that these kids are given tools to work through their grief. There are squeals, happy smiles, and new friendships as the children realize they aren’t alone and have new friends who have experienced loss like them.”
Diane also helps with the Flower Project. Every other week, Fred Meyer donates flowers to Hospice of Redmond. Diane is one of the people who creates at least a dozen bouquets that go out into the community to lift spirits every other week.
Thank you, Diane, for donating 20 years to serving our community.
Meet Allison Sattinger
Music therapy has been shown to reduce pain and stress. When used in a hospice setting, it can decrease agitation, increase comfort, and helps create a peaceful environment for someone’s passing.
A singer and songwriter since her 20s, Allison Sattinger was with her best friend when she died of metastatic breast cancer in 2017. After feeling unprepared as her dear friend was dying, Allison wondered how she could incorporate music into the last moments of someone’s life. With her musical background, Allison completed a comprehensive Harp for Healing program. This special program teaches how to use the harp therapeutically to relax both the body and the mind and create an environment where healing can occur.
Allison learned to play on Mr. Mahogany, a 26-year-old, 34-string Lever Harp. She loved Mr. Mahogany so much that when she finished the program in October of 2021, Allison traded a different harp she owned for Mr. Mahogany. After doing distance sessions during the pandemic for friends whose parents were passing, she felt a calling. Allison began volunteering at Hospice of Redmond in November of 2022. She joins patients before the transition (to death) begins to provide peace and calm during an otherwise very stressful time.
“Playing for people who are near death has impacted me profoundly,” said Allison. “I feel a strong sense of spirituality and grounding when I play for another person and am honored to be a confident guest in a space where people don’t always want to be. It feels like the right space for me.”
Thank you, Allison, for helping heal through music.
Meet Elisabeth Schock, LMT
If you’ve ever had a massage, you can attest to the calm and deep relaxation you feel afterward. These benefits are helpful to our elderly and fragile population and, even more so, those nearing the end of life.
Twenty-year licensed massage therapist Elisabeth Schock felt a calling to help elderly people through massage. She began offering Comfort Touch®, a special form of elderly massage, over a decade ago. Comfort Touch is a tender and nurturing form of acupressure that provides deep relaxation and pain relief and is safe to use on our most fragile populations.
When she moved her practice from Portland to Redmond, she felt the need to do more.
“Several years ago, someone challenged me to do the thing that would be my ‘give back,’” said Elisabeth.
When she learned of Hospice of Redmond, she contacted Volunteer Coordinator Tania to learn more. Elisabeth became a volunteer offering bed or chairside Comfort Touch massage in April 2022.
“Through massage, I get as much back as I put into the massage,” said Elisabeth. “Relieving tightness and taking the body and mind into a parasympathetic state to rest, digest, and heal is very important – especially at the end of life.”
Elisabeth meets patients wherever they are, whether in a wheelchair or bed, and provides a massage customized to their physical and emotional needs.
Thank you, Elisabeth, for helping our patients feel better with massage.
Volunteering for a hospice organization will look different from person to person. Everyone has a unique set of talents that can help someone who is terminally ill – whether directly or indirectly. At Hospice of Redmond, we are honored to have around 50 volunteers who dedicate their free time and skills toward helping others.
To our volunteers, we would not be here without you. We want to thank you for all they do from the bottom of our hearts. You are the heart of hospice.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Hospice of Redmond, visit our website by clicking here.