It takes a special kind of person to embrace a career helping people. For Peggy Dolby and her “fleet” of 385 very special volunteers who help, “The things we do in the community for patients and their families matter!”
Peggy changed careers 12 years ago to join Delaware Hospice, and when asked, “What sets Delaware Hospice apart from other hospice organizations,” her answer is decisive.
“They all are important, but the people and volunteers at Delaware Hospice — the ‘us’ — is unparalleled.”
Volunteers are the unsung heroes behind the events, auctions, solicitations, and participation in activities and fundraising. They take caregivers shopping, or go shopping for them; they play checkers with patients; they read aloud and offer other kinds of patient care.
Who are they? Monica became a volunteer after participating in a Ride for Hospice event at Sea Colony four years ago. Betty had a family member who benefited from Delaware Hospice and, as an artist and volunteer, creates beautiful crafts with family members. She also helps patients and families in other ways, which is pretty remarkable for someone in her eighth decade.
There are volunteers who are teenagers, people with full time jobs, retirees and people like Betty, who are in their 80s.
“You can’t do this job and not be touched in an incredibly positive way,” Peggy said.
Since its formation in 1982, Delaware Hospice has always been a not-for-profit organization, so patients and families are not billed for the services provided. The agency is statewide and is divided by county. Peggy is responsible for assisting programs in the booming Sussex County and half of Kent County. Today, there are 358 patients statewide — including residents at the Delaware Hospice Center.
Delaware Hospice offers programs that touch every family member — many of whom are desperately trying to keep some semblance of “normal” in their lives while dealing with chronic or terminal illness.
General Patient Care, Transitions (a program before hospice for people coping with a serious illness to receive non-medical care and guidance), New Hope (a program for children coping with the loss of someone they love) and Palliative Care (for symptom management while giving comfort, information and connections through home visits) are among the programs offered.
Thanks to the visits from licensed caregivers, many people are able to stay in familiar surroundings, sleeping on their own pillows and listening to the comforting sounds of their homes.
Every dollar donated helps improve programs. But, to be fair, there are many worthy causes to consider. Peggy noted how incredibly supportive local businesses are. She said that, in four years, Sea Colony’s efforts resulted in donations of $12,000, and volunteers.
No matter how big or small a contribution is — in either time or money — it matters.
Join your neighbors and friends at Sea Colony’s Ride for Hospice at the Freeman Fitness Center on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information and registration, go to www.seacolony.com/special-events or call (302) 539-4511.
By Claudia Thayne
Sea Colony Recreational Association