At The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), we are inspired daily by the achievements and contributions made by our staff, volunteers and community.
As we commemorate 150 years of care at the RCH, we want to celebrate women, both past and present, who have contributed to our rich history and made the hospital what it is today.
Ahead of International Women’s Day this Sunday, we’ll be sharing stories throughout the week about women within the RCH community who inspire us.
Today, we look at the amazing contribution that volunteers have made to the RCH since its inception, and speak to current volunteers Phyllis and Amy who between them, have volunteered at the hospital for 60 years.
Tell us about your RCH journey.
Phyllis: I started at the RCH back in 1979, after my daughter suggested that I might like volunteering here. I began, as all volunteers did back then, working in the crèche. From there, I have spent time on the orthopaedic ward and now help out with the cleaning and collection of splints. It turns out my daughter was right, I’ve been volunteering at the hospital for forty years and count every day that I walk through the hospital doors as a blessing.
Amy: When I first started 20 years ago, I wasn’t sure which department I wanted to work in. I didn’t want to work in an office and the manager at the time told me I was good at talking, so I needed to be around people. Now I divide my time between working in splints, and working in recovery where I help comfort parents who are going through a difficult time.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Amy: I think it’s about being proud of each other. We are all like a family here, and have formed a close friendship. We come in every day and share our lives. We’ve supported each other through all the happy times, and a few of the sad times too. I think on that day, we are especially thankful for the bond we have.
Which women are you inspired by?
Phyllis: I’m very inspired by all that my children and grandchildren have achieved. They’ve all worked very hard in their lives and nothing has been handed to them. I’m proud of the way they’ve grown up, gone out into the world, and achieved all they’ve wanted.
What is one of your greatest achievements?
Phyllis: I think my proudest achievement is the work I do as president of the Heart to Heart Auxiliary. I’ve met many families over the years, who really appreciate you being a good listener and being someone they can open up to. Although I’m very proud that our stalls and raffles raise important funds for the cardiac unit, I think being there for families is what I’m most proud of.
Amy: I think volunteering at the RCH for twenty years is quite the achievement!
How has volunteering at the RCH progressed over time?
Phyllis: When I started at the hospital, everyone had to begin their volunteering at the crèche to see if we were good with children. Back then, a lot of departments were completely run by volunteers. Today, we can volunteer in so many departments and do plenty of different jobs, but the departments have grown so much that we have teams of staff working there too. Both Amy and I volunteered at the old hospital, so we’ve seen how much the hospital has grown and the way volunteers have continued to support that.