National Volunteer Week 2023
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National Volunteer Week April 16-22 is a time to celebrate the outstanding contributions Sunnybrook volunteers and the millions of Canadians who generously give time to others. The theme at Sunnybrook,, Volunteering Changes Lives highlights the many ways volunteers positively impact the patient experience, and how volunteering can change the lives of the volunteers themselves.

This year at Sunnybrook, we are proud to focus on this theme through a special photo feature, which highlights staff members who were once volunteers, and current volunteers who were once staff. Putting a spotlight on these connections is a reminder of the common bond both staff and volunteers share in improving the patient experience

Volunteers who became Staff

Headshot of volunteer VivianVivian

I volunteered: 1996 – 2000, Veterans Centre
I became staff: 2003, Recreation Therapist, Veterans Centre

Being a volunteer was enriching personally and professionally. I learned so much about the teams that contribute to the care of patients and families across the hospital. Working with Veterans provided a perspective on the sacrifices they made that I never would have understood if I wasn't part of Sunnybrook.

Headshot of volunteer GirmayGirmay

I volunteered: 2017, Symptom Screening, Odette Cancer Centre
I became staff: 2018, Biomedical Engineering, Technical Assistant, Women and Babies.

After I graduated college, I applied to volunteer at Sunnybrook. When I was accepted at Odette Cancer Centre doors opened for me. Volunteering made me feel good as I learned how to support patients and positively impact their Sunnybrook experience . The day I was accepted as a volunteer was the start of my dreams coming true.

headshot of volunteer AryehAryeh

I volunteered: 2015-2019, Resident Escort, Veterans Centre
I became staff: 2022, Social Worker, C2 Medical/Radiation Oncology

Volunteering at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people, both residents and staff, who inspired me and made my desire to have a positive effect on the lives of vulnerable individuals and their families a reality.

Headshot of volunteer SuwilmaSuwilma

I volunteered: 2017, Information Desk, Odette Cancer Centre
I became staff: 2018, Unit Coordinator- Radiation Therapy , Odette Cancer Centre

Volunteering is about helping, but at the same time I got a lot in return. After my shifts as a volunteer and since, as a staff, I feel more open-minded because I meet interesting people and listen to their stories. I become more humble every time I meet a new patient and learn about their journey.​

Headshot of volunteer KamrunKamrun

I volunteered: 2018 -2022, Radiation and Symptom Screening, Odette Cancer Centre
I became staff: 2022, Data Manager, Hematology Site group, OCC Clinical Trials

Before volunteering I didn’t realize how important the simple little things were in a patient’s life. Even if our only interaction was an exchanged smile, I felt I’d made a difference. As an International Medical Graduate, volunteering solidified my passion to work at Sunnybrook. Now I’m a proudly on the Hemato-Oncology Trial Group.

Headshot of volunteer Karim Karim

I volunteered: 2019 – 2020, OCC
I became staff: 2020. COVID Screener

After a 40 year career at financial institution and a cancer survivor, I decided to give back to the community. Volunteering at Sunnybrook was humbling and gratifying and gave me an opportunity to interact with staff, patients and family/caregivers. It’s truly an honour and a privilege being part of this great organization and has given me a different perspective and appreciation on life. Thank you Sunnybrook.

Headshot of volunteer Shelly Shelly

I volunteered: 2019 – 2023, Odette- Radiation Clinic.
I became staff: March 2023, Odette Clinic Coordinator

Volunteering gave me a sense of purpose, community and the ability to contribute and give back. I gained self-confidence and met a lot of great people and made new friends. Volunteering is very rewarding an something I will continue to do!

Headshot of volunteer ChrisChris

I volunteered: 2009 – 2019, Emergency Department
I became staff: 2012, Technician in the Biomedical Engineering Department

Volunteering in the ED has given me a greater appreciation for the challenging work carried out by our doctors, nurses and all the support staff for our patients who need to come to emergency, and the fact that volunteers are a valuable addition to help ease some of the work load where possible.

Headshot of volunteer YvonneYvonne

I volunteered: 2015 – 2018, CT Scan
I became staff: 2022, Research Coordinator, ALS Research

As a volunteer, I learned that people want to be respected and heard. The best part was seeing the smiles when patients knew I was there to help. As a staff, I continue to feel gratitude and humility with new experiences. Volunteering was a privilege as I became part of the Sunnybrook Family.

Headshot of volunteer CarolynCarolyn

I volunteered: 2019, Wheelchair Escort, Veterans Centre
I became staff: 2020, Activity Aide Veteran’s Centre

Volunteering helped me understand what the world was like before my time and after for other people. I've used my time as a volunteer and then as an activity aide by helping veterans on their daily activities and tasks. Hearing all of their amazing stories with glow on their eyes are priceless.

Former staff who now volunteer

Headshot of volunteer AnneAnne

I worked at Sunnybrook: 1972 – 2015, Risk Manager, Quality & Patient Safety
I volunteer: since 2016, Emergency Department

After a 43 year career at Sunnybrook, I currently volunteer in the emergency department. I find it so rewarding to support patients, their families and front line staff. I am often told that I make their experience less stressful and this is very rewarding.

Headshot of volunteer JudithJudith

I worked at Sunnybrook: 30 years (until 2017), Patient Care Manager, Family Practice
I volunteer: since 2017, M1 Courtesy Services

I currently volunteer in M1 providing directions and support to patients and visitors as they navigate Sunnybrook’s Bayview campus. Volunteering provides me with the opportunity to continue to use my nursing focus of helping others and to be part of the Sunnybrook community which has been such an important part of my life.

Headshot of volunteer BizBiz

I worked at Sunnybrook: 1998 – 2017, Risk Manager, Quality & Patient Safety
I volunteer: Since 2019, M1 Courtesy Services volunteer

Volunteering has allowed me to see the hospital from the patient, family and visitor perspective, hopefully providing them with a friendly and positive experience.

Headshot of volunteer NadaNada

I worked at Sunnybrook: 1992 – 2020, Nurse, Veterans Centre
I volunteer: Since 2021, Odette Courtesy Service

I enjoy working with the patients and making a difference, however small, in their lives through volunteering. The Odette Centre is a welcoming place that helps everyone in their time of need.

Headshot of volunteer GraceGrace

I worked at Sunnybrook: 1993 – 2018, Radiation Therapist, Odette Cancer Centre
I volunteer: Since 2018, Transport, Veterans Centre; Friendly Visitor, Palliative Care Unit

Once I retired, I became a volunteer in the Veteran Centre. I worked as a transport volunteer and now I am a visiting volunteer in the Palliative Care Unit. The smiles on the patients and residents faces and their sincere gratitude deeply touch my heart.