Volunteer Stories

It is only with the help of volunteers that we can meet the rising demand for outreach and support of individuals and their families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Myra Conway

Recipient of the 2013 Government of Canada’s Workplace Charitable Giving Mitchell Sharp Award for outstanding volunteerism.   She has been recognized for her involvement in the new ‘I am Living Proof of HealthPartners donations at work’ campaign, Fall 2014. Myra is featured on materials used nation-wide in government and private workplaces. Her story provides ‘living proof’ of how a donation to HealthPartners helps those living with dementia. She has been busy speaking to Government of Canada Charitable Workplace Campaign leaders in the National Capital region.

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Geraldene Higgs

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By Gabriel Mayost, Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County Volunteer and Carleton University Journalism Student (Sept. 2012)

Geraldene Higgs has been a volunteer with the Alzheimer Society for almost 20 years, and is glad to contribute to a cause that is close to her heart. “My mother had Alzheimer’s disease before the Society was founded, and there was no help available to us.” Geraldene is so appreciative of the work that the Alzheimer Society is doing now.

Geraldene volunteers with the Alzheimer Society’s Program Department, which runs support groups and education sessions for families. She cites the people she works with and the satisfaction she gets from her work as the reason she has continued to volunteer for so many years. “They are such appreciative people. Every time I leave for the day, people always thank me for coming in.” 

Linda Tannis

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By Gabriel Mayost, Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County Volunteer and Carleton University Journalism Student (Oct. 2012)

Linda Tannis began volunteering at the Alzheimer Society in 2000, and has enjoyed working there ever since.

Her mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and she decided to volunteer in order to give back for all the care and compassion they had shown her during her mother’s illness. “The Alzheimer Society was so kind and helpful to me through my mother’s illness, and helped educate and support me through the various stages of the disease.”

Linda always looks forward to helping the office with whatever jobs might need to be done. “Being a volunteer helps one feel useful, especially with such a wonderful organization who does such good work providing excellent care.” says Linda.

Linda credits the Alzheimer Society staff for making their volunteers feel welcomed, appreciated, and needed. She urges others to get involved because she believes in the work the Society is doing, and because it’s a great experience for volunteers.

“Being a volunteer gives one an opportunity to give back to their community. I think most volunteers feel they benefit more than the society or organization they volunteer for.” she says.

Raymond Au

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By Gabriel Mayost, Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County Volunteer and Carleton University Journalism Student (Sept. 2012)

Raymond Au began volunteering with the Alzheimer Society because he knows first-hand the strain that caregivers are under.

“My mom had Alzheimer’s disease, and because of my work as a pharmacist I interact with people with Alzheimer’s. I want to help the families cope with the stress and provide support.” says Raymond.

In his six years as a volunteer, Raymond has given presentations to the local Chinese community to help increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. He feels that reaching out to people and sharing information is extremely satisfying work.

“The most enjoyable thing is letting people know that there is hope, and that there is always help,” he says.

Raymond encourages people to get involved with the Alzheimer’s Society. We always have a need for volunteers to help out.” Raymond says. 

Bernadette Lee-Wo

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By Gabriel Mayost, Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County Volunteer and Carleton University Journalism Student (Oct. 2012)

When I first became aware that my mother was showing signs of what may have been dementia, the first thing I knew I had to do was talk to someone to learn as much as I could so that I could do the best for her.

“I picked up the phone and called the Alzheimer Society and spoke to one of the counselors. They told me to come in with my Mother. I remember feeling surprised at such a quick response. I always left feeling empowered and better prepared to care for my mother.” says Bernadette.

Bernadette was a long distance caregiver, and while away from Ottawa, was able to reflect on how fortunate she was to have access to the services the Society offered.

Bernadette decided to volunteer because she wanted to give something back for all the support she received. Her first volunteer activity with the Society was the fundraiser – Walk for Memories in January 2010.

Bernadette says, “It has been and continues to be personally rewarding and uplifting for me. The office has good energy and is a very welcoming place. The staff and other volunteers I have met are wonderful people and I feel very much a part of the team. Volunteering at the Society is a perfect blend of giving, receiving and being challenged. ”