Giving Back and Staying Healthy
That’s how it feels for John, Frank, and Nina—three local residents and avid volunteers. Volunteering provides them with community fellowship, a way to make a difference using their skills, a way to stay sharp, and the ability to bring joy and comfort to those they care for.
Be Active, Be Well
To keep a healthy mind, body, and spirit, people are encouraged to stay active throughout life.
“Participation in activities that keep us stimulated is the first step for successful aging. It can reduce continued disability and enhance mobility, strength, and self-confidence,” says Abraham Scheer, MD, medical director for neurology and stroke services at Beebe Healthcare.
Dr. Scheer encourages members of the community to explore the many volunteering opportunities available in the local area; to find a place where experience can shine while improving wellness.“I love to talk to the volunteers at Beebe,” Dr. Scheer says. “I feel that we are lucky to have them here.”
Here’s how Nina, John, and Frank each keep their mind, body, and spirit active and engaged in addition to their important day-to-day volunteer work at Beebe.
From an early age, we’re taught that it’s important to help others. For some, that lesson becomes a desire to volunteer, serving loved ones and the community. The Beacon met with three local Beebe volunteers to learn why they give back and how it makes them feel. The unanimous answer: volunteering makes them feel happier and healthier. Get to know them!
Nina Lichtman: Volunteer in the Chemo/Infusion Department at Beebe
For 30 years, Nina Lichtman helped people heal. As an operating nurse who worked all around the country, she was able to explore the science she found interesting, while being a compassionate humanitarian along the way. Upon her retirement, she felt led to give back in an avenue that fit her passion, her life of service, and her industry of comfort: volunteering at the Tunnell Cancer Center.
As the longest active Tunnell volunteer, Nina has helped shape the community and its offerings, focusing heavily on providing comfort and emotional care to chemotherapy patients.
“Cancer treatment can be frightening. If we can help alleviate some of their fears and make them comfortable, it takes away from their condition,” Nina says.
Not only do Nina and her fellow volunteers provide comfort, compassion, and care to chemotherapy patients, they also step in and take extraneous tasks off the nurses’ plates. Nina’s nursing background has given her insight into what can be done to make nurses’ lives easier so they can focus on care and treatment of patients.
“If we can make patients happy and comfortable and take the tedium out of the nurses’ day, I know we’re helping,” Nina says.
John Marchetti: Volunteer with Mended Hearts and Beebe Cardiac Rehab
In 2007, John Marchetti had a stent placed in his heart. His medical team and the volunteers were incredibly helpful throughout the process, and before he left the hospital, they recommended he attend a Mended Hearts meeting. Mended Hearts provided a way to gather with others who were healing from heart surgery. After the first meeting, he signed up as a volunteer.
John’s job is to take patients to pre-admission testing all around the hospital, oftentimes stopping at the cafeteria after blood tests for a bite of breakfast and a chance to let the patient talk.
“I sit with patients and loved ones. I try to calm them and encourage them. You’re always scared when you have a major surgery like that, but the object is to calm everybody down,” John says.
John was drawn to Mended Hearts’ support role; a program that exists solely to help people through a difficult time. Since he began volunteering for Beebe in 2007, he’s noticed a dramatic change in his health.
“Before, I was sitting around the house all day. Now I feel better in my mind—I feel younger; all because of what I’m doing,” John explains.
Frank Robinson: Volunteer in Beebe’s Emergency Department
Volunteering had always been a part of Frank Robinson’s life. It was never a question of whether he would volunteer, it was just a question of where. After a family member underwent care at Beebe’s Emergency Department, he felt called to get involved.
Two morning shifts a week, Frank works in the Emergency Department, moving stretchers, making beds, stocking medical equipment and tools for the nurses, bringing drinks to patients (if allowed), and also getting to know people. He loves that no day is routine and the work is both challenging and different. He also loves that his role keeps him moving, walking miles by the end of his shift.
“I love putting smiles on people’s faces. It reminds us of all the little things we take for granted,” he says.
He looks forward to waking up and going to the hospital, being with people, and making a difference. In his experience, when people see volunteers helping others, they’re more inclined to do the same.
“We’re not supposed to forget the sick and less fortunate,” Frank says. “Some days are fun; some are very sad … it all helps you help people.”
Giving Back & Staying Healthy
Try practicing one of these simple acts of kindness to benefit both the community, and your overall health and wellbeing:
Pay it forward. If you're able, shovel your neighbor’s driveway before work, without reward or recognition.
Reach out. Prepare a nutritious meal for a pregnant friend. A home-cooked dinner and good conversation are guaranteed to make her day as she prepares for baby.
Walk for a cause. This time of year, many health initiatives are planning fundraising walks and runs. Participate to get out of the house, get your blood moving, and to give back.