John and Judy Balfour have been Hospice & Community Care volunteers since 2011. As part of their volunteer work, the Balfours have sat with patients, made bereavement calls, provided presence during patient vigils, and worked in the Patrick Hospice House. In addition, Judy has also worked in the Rock Hill Resale Shop and the administrative offices.
When asked what their favorite part of volunteering at Hospice & Community Care was, they explained it was the patients. “I like being around all the activities related to Hospice,” shared Judy. “I have met so many nice people, and you get so involved with the families. And you see how much it means to them to have someone to lean on. As volunteers, you see so many people, and it gives you a better insight into what they are going through. And when you become a caregiver yourself, you get a different perspective, and you see how much it means.”
“My favorite parts: a lot of nice people, the different patients, and their families,” said John. “My brother was fighting his last battle with cancer, and I went to Florida for six months to help him. And it wasn’t until I did that that I realized just how much help hospice is to the families, more help to the families than to the patient. When I came up here to volunteer, seeing the people, and knowing what they are going through, you know that you are helping.”
“We stay busy. There aren’t many husband/wife duos. One year we got the volunteer award for vigil volunteer, and they put both our names on it. Hospice would call our house looking for a volunteer, and they were sure to get one of us. We only live a half-mile down the road so if they had an immediate need, and often it is, we were close. Or maybe they would call us first plus our name starts with a B. So alphabetically we were close to the start,” Judy laughed. “At one point, one of the volunteer coordinators said whatever you do, don’t call the Balfour’s because they need a rest. There was usually one of us available to go, and then the other would take the next one.”
“For someone thinking about volunteering, just go for it,” said John. “Just give it a try. It may not be for everyone, but I found it wasn’t demeaning or as depressing as I thought it would be when I started. I always got a whole lot more out of it than I was putting in.”
“John and Judy Balfour have been a true blessing to Hospice & Community Care and our volunteer program. No matter who, when, or where, if the Balfour’s were available, they would be there. It did not matter how many times they were called they never had an unkind word or tone; it was always “How can we help?” We don’t often have couples serve as hospice volunteers together. You will not meet a kinder, more dedicated couple. And John’s sense of humor was always a wonderful surprise. I will never forget our volunteer emergency management training when he suggested how we should all act in a tornado drill.
The Balfour’s have a true desire to leave the world better than they found it; it is inspirational. We are truly fortunate to have John and Judy as a part of our Hospice & Community Care family.”
~Sarah Dunning, Director of Volunteer Services and Human Resources