Ipswich Hospice volunteer recognised for compassion
ONE of Ipswich Hospice’s dedicated volunteers has been recognised for her care and compassion to bereaved Queenslanders at the Palliative Care in Queensland annual awards.
Carolyn Smith received the top honour in the Outstanding Achievement by Volunteer category, for her role as a support worker and volunteer at Ipswich Hospice Care and Hilda’s House.
Ms Smith said she was humbled by the award.
“I felt very surprised and humbled by the award,” she said.
“When I accepted the award, I really accepted it on behalf of all the volunteers at Ipswich Hospice.
“Every single volunteer is important. It doesn’t matter what they do, they all make a difference.
Mrs Smith began volunteering 23 years ago following the death of her mother.
“My journey started 42 years ago when my mother died. I knew back then that in years to come I would be somewhere that I could help people,” she said.
“I feel God had a plan for my life all those years ago but I didn’t see it back then.
“When my youngest child went to school I went and did a course at Ipswich Hospice for a few months, and that’s how it all began.
“But I believe, 42 years ago, there weren’t many services people could access when they were experiencing grief, and it was a time of being totally alone.
“I know now, being able to access services, is a real strength in yourself, not a weakness.”
As part of her role as a support worker, Ms Smith chats with the guests and family members, writing letters and reading. Ms Smith is currently donating her time to help the Ipswich Hospice Remembrance Trees fundraiser.
“Every year in December we have a Christmas tree set up, and people can buy these little butterfly tags for $2. They can put a memory of their loved one and then put it on the tree,” she said. “Then what happens in the new year, we take all the little tags and we burn them and have a little ceremony with Hilda’s House. We place the ashes under a little rosebush. The fundraiser runs until Saturday, December 21.