This week, we’ve been celebrating our team of more than 600 dedicated volunteers at the RCH with our annual Volunteers Festival.
As part of the festival, we’re sharing some of our volunteers’ stories, including our oldest and youngest volunteers Dulcie and Daniella.
They might be at different stages of their volunteering careers but Dulcie and Daniella – the oldest and youngest volunteers at the RCH – agree that giving their time to the RCH has been life changing.
Dulcie Cedaro, 87 has been donating her Fridays to the RCH (together with her auxiliary pals, they make splints for patients) for 28 years.
Her daughter Anne, then a nurse at the old Preston and Northcote Community Hospital, suggested Dulcie volunteer to help others.
“She said, ‘time you got off your butt Mum!’, as both my children had grown up.”
Tragically 18 months later Anne was killed – knocked off her bike, at the age of just 22.
“So I reckon this (working at the RCH) is like her legacy – I honestly think it has kept me going, I reckon I would have gone crazy if I didn’t come here every Friday.”
“We are always here for each other,” she said of her Heart-to-Heart auxiliary colleagues Phyl Brown and Maria Di Poi.
“We’ve been through births, we’ve been through deaths, we’ve been through cancers …
“We’re like a family. We even go away on holidays together.”
The youngest volunteer at the RCH, Daniella Orrico, 19, whose role often includes sitting and talking to patients and families, says she has always found ways to contribute her time for those less fortunate.
The sense of community service was instilled in her family, who have always encouraged her to contribute.
I love giving back and helping out the kids and their families,” said the second year student nurse at La Trobe University.
“You do feel that you get as much – or more – than you give.
“I have learnt through the kids and their parents how strong some people are.
“You feel privileged to be able to support them.”