Volunteer Pat Csinos receives June Callwood Award

Pat Csinos says when her sister-in-law first suggested volunteering at Sakura House she said “I resisted it. I had a fear of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing.” It took Pat about a year and a half before she revisited the thought of volunteering and after six and half years she hasn’t looked back. We are so fortunate that Pat made that first step to join our team as a volunteer!

VON Oxford is excited to celebrate Pat Csinos during National Volunteer Week (April 18-24,2021), as the recipient of the 2020 HPCO June Callwood Award. Nominees must demonstrate selfless service, generosity of spirit, compassion and a commitment to excellence. Pat meets every piece of this criteria and beyond. Congratulations Pat! Typically, this Award would be presented to Pat at a special ceremony at the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario Conference in Toronto last year. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this was cancelled. On Friday, March 19th, VON Oxford presented Pat with her Award at a small ceremony in the backyard of Sakura House.

Pat began her volunteer career with VON Oxford in October of 2014 as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) at Sakura House. This position is relied on heavily by our staff members to provide extra emotional support to patients and family members and to help with all the “little extras” such as assisting with meals, hand massages, or taking patients to the patio to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. After settling in as a volunteer PCA, Pat immediately found other ways to help out, including: volunteering with the Sakura House memorial services, creating bears for the Memory Bear Program, assisting in various holiday meals, providing overnight respite to patients, facilitating Kids’ Circle and Teens’ Circle groups and other special activities, and signing up to volunteer at the Handbags for Hospice and Hike for Hospice fundraising events. Most recently, Pat began volunteering as a one-on-one hospice & bereavement volunteer to support individuals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pat says “my work with families and patients is a true privilege. There is an emotional intimacy in being with someone at the end of their life. They have had so many losses already – loss of independence, loss of health. I am drawn to speak with them about their losses. Sometimes it is easier for them to talk to a stranger, so they don’t burden their family. They can find peace.”

Our staff and volunteers couldn’t be more proud to work alongside Pat Csinos. Janine Jackson, Care & Service Manager, VON Sakura House says, “Pat is a very and gentle person and I couldn’t think of a more deserving volunteer than Pat to receive this award. Pat always goes above and beyond and puts her patients and families needs first. It is truly a blessing to have her as a volunteer.” We are so grateful to Pat Csinos for her amazing volunteer service these past six and half years! If you would like to learn more about the HPCO June Callwood Award, please visit this website.

VON Oxford and Sakura House celebrates more than 500 volunteers during National Volunteer Week for their commitment and dedication. Volunteers are essential to the well-being and comfort that VON Oxford provides to clients in various community programs, as well as at our 10-bed residential hospice, VON Sakura House. You can learn more about volunteering with VON Sakura House by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Horwood at 519-537-8515 x1022 or by email at jennifer.horwood@von.ca

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