Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering, National Volunteer Week is on from 16-22 May this year. Ozcare recognises and thanks each of its 175 volunteers who give so selflessly of their time, skills and energy to make a positive impact on the lives of so many in our care.
In reflecting on their contributions, we are pleased to share the story of one of our wonderful volunteers below.
This is Lewis’ story
My name is Lewis Hoffman. I graduated as a pharmacist in 1955 and spent 50 years in the profession retiring in 2005.
On Valentine’s Day in 2009 I had a massive stroke and was rushed to Wesley Hospital. I spent one month there and with the help of wonderful physiotherapists, speech therapist and occupational therapist (OT) was able to be sent to Canossa Hospital spending three months there under physio, speech therapist and OT.
Before I was discharged from Wesley I asked the Nurse/Manager if I could come back as a volunteer in her ward because I wished that someone who had been through what I was going through could have come to sit with me. She thought it was a brilliant idea and left the door open for me if I recovered sufficiently enough to get there.
In 2014 I made the phone call to her and was welcomed into the ward and spent the next seven years visiting the ward each week talking to stroke patients.
In the same year I received a call from the National Stroke Foundation asking me to be the key note speaker at their annual meeting and as a result I became an Ambassador/Volunteer for the Foundation on the guest speaker circuit. I have done over 100 talks speaking to Rotary, Probus, Men’s Shed, Queensland Police, 1st year medical students, bus depots and the like.
After my time in Wesley I decided to go locally and found my niche at Canossa and have enjoyed every minute there.
In 2015 I received the “Life after stroke ” award and have just returned from Melbourne after being presented with the Volunteer Award for 2022.
At 90 years next year I have been blessed with good health and will continue doing what I love best…helping people.
I was nominated for my latest award by a member of the Stroke Foundation (Qld branch).
Lewis, you are a valued member of our volunteer network and we are truly blessed to have you. Thank you for all that you do and all that you give of yourself – may your kindness be returned to you 100-fold![Cover photo courtesy of Stroke Foundation]