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10,000 hours: Charlottetown hospital volunteer hits milestone with washing hair



CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Gayle MacDonald stated nothing makes her happier than going into the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Charlottetown each Thursday to clean sufferers’ hair.

“I like assembly individuals. I like speaking to individuals and I at all times say while you go away, you’re grateful that you simply’ve made somebody glad,’’ stated MacDonald, who was honoured on Dec. 20 by the volunteer service division for hitting the ten,000 hours milestone, a file on the hospital.

The Covehead resident, who’s 78, started volunteering in 1974 on the former P.E.I. Hospital on Brighton Highway earlier than shifting to the QEH when it opened in 1982.

She stated her choice to volunteer on the P.E.I. Hospital happened as a result of her husband was at work and the children had been in school. She began on the lookout for methods to volunteer her time and be capable to be at dwelling when the children bought out of college.

A good friend prompt volunteering on the hospital.

At first, she delivered issues like mail and flowers to sufferers.

Sooner or later, a affected person who was not in a position to go away her mattress requested how she might get her hair carried out.

Gayle MacDonald was honoured by the volunteer services department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown with a pin on Dec. 20, 2022 recognizing 10,000 hours of volunteering. MacDonald began volunteering at the former P.E.I. Hospital in 1974. - Dave Stewart
Gayle MacDonald was honoured by the volunteer companies division at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown with a pin on Dec. 20, 2022 recognizing 10,000 hours of volunteering. MacDonald started volunteering on the former P.E.I. Hospital in 1974. – Dave Stewart

MacDonald, who had no earlier expertise washing different individuals’s hair, and one other volunteer bought some shampoo and different necessities collectively and did the affected person’s hair. Then, the lady within the subsequent mattress requested to have her hair washed.

“So, we went again to our volunteer director and stated, ‘perhaps there’s a necessity for this type of stuff’, so that is what I’ve been doing ever since,’’ MacDonald stated in an interview with SaltWire Community on the hospital on Dec. 21.

The P.E.I. Hospital created the valued hair care volunteer service which continues right now.

The Covehead resident is now a part of a staff of volunteers that washes hair in models 7 and eight.

Kay McQuaid of Kellys Cross stated she has been a affected person on the hospital on just a few events, and every time has had MacDonald wash her hair.

“She is so caring and sort,’’ McQuaid stated in a phone interview on Dec. 22. “She is such a pure caregiver, somebody who is stuffed with life. When she walks within the room, she makes you are feeling crucial. She makes you are feeling such as you’re primary. It’s an honour simply to be in her presence. And, while you’re within the hospital, it’s such a elevate to get your hair carried out. It’s such a giant increase to your spirit.’’

SaltWire Community requested Gayle MacDonald to call 5 of her favorite actions:

  • Spending time along with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
  • Visiting household in seniors’ houses.
  • Going to Charlottetown Islanders’ hockey video games along with her husband.
  • Sitting down with a great guide.
  • Making handcrafts and doing needlepoint.

Janice Morrison, supervisor of volunteer companies on the QEH, stated when MacDonald began in 1974, she would fill her automotive three days every week with ladies from the neighborhood to return in and volunteer.

“Gayle is an excellent volunteer. She defines the phrase,’’ Morrison stated. “She offers for the nice of others with out in search of reward or recognition for herself.’’

All through many of the years, MacDonald has volunteered twice weekly earlier than reducing again to in the future on account of medical points just a few years in the past.

Whereas Thursdays are her scheduled days, MacDonald stated she’s going to typically work round requests from sufferers.

“I bear in mind years in the past there was one woman who was in right here and he or she was dying. Her daughter was getting married, however it was on a Saturday,’’ MacDonald stated. “Her household requested me if it could be attainable if I might are available in and do her hair. They had been coming over (to the hospital) to have footage carried out. I got here in and did her hair. (The mom) had tears in her eyes after. It wasn’t my day to work, however I knew it was an vital day for her.’’

Gayle MacDonald has compiled a record 10,000 volunteer hours at the P.E.I. Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown since 1974. She has spent the majority of that time washing patients’ hair. - Dave Stewart
Gayle MacDonald has compiled a file 10,000 volunteer hours on the P.E.I. Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown since 1974. She has spent nearly all of that point washing sufferers’ hair. – Dave Stewart

MacDonald is so standard she will get requests from bald males for a wash.

“Nothing like a scalp rub. We use shampoo, they usually’re happier than something,’’ she laughs.

MacDonald has no plans to cease compiling hours anytime quickly.

“I’ll do that so long as God offers me the power to do it, that’s the way in which I have a look at it,’’ she stated. “I’ll be right here till they put me out or they carry me out.’’

Dave Stewart is a reporter with SaltWire Community in Charlottetown. He will be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @DveStewart.

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