A Volunteer Story

“It takes a village to provide
a safe, positive, and kind environment for the hardest and saddest parts of our lives.”

❤️ Donate to Heart House Hospice Now

Volunteering at Heart House Hospice fell into my lap 11 years ago through a friend who was a
volunteer at the hospice. I was intrigued and decided to do the highly informative and insightful
30-hour volunteer training program. Indeed, this was the best decision I have made for my journey
of self-growth and the incredible compassion and kindness
of the hospice world.

My name is Cherry, I’m a volunteer at Heart House Hospice, and I love what I do! My motivation,
continuously, is meeting the people we serve, their families and caregivers, the devoted support
workers, volunteers, and staff all connected to Heart House Hospice. It takes a village to provide
a safe, positive, and kind environment for the hardest and saddest parts of our lives.

I have been extremely fortunate; I have been able to sign up for many different workshops that
Heart House Hospice offers to their volunteers. The workshops cover many modalities which have
helped to assist my goal of ensuring we can provide compassion, support, and advocacy that lessens
the distress of serious illness and loss on individuals, families, and the community.

Whether the people we serve have just received a palliative diagnosis, are supporting a loved one
as their primary caregiver, or need bereavement services after losing a loved one, there are many
possibilities for programs and services. As volunteers, we take great pride in providing respite
relief, therapeutic touch, Reiki, journaling, meditation, gentle aroma touch, art and music
therapy, social connection days, and many other programs to support the end-of-life journey. Along
with many other volunteers, I have completed training for these services at Heart House Hospice. I
can also provide in-home visits, over-the-phone visits and assist with in-office wellness days that
welcome the people we serve to enjoy a one-hour health and wellness treatment.

After initially only doing respite work for the first two years, I now primarily am involved with
the complementary therapies mentioned above. The responses from the people we serve and their
families are very encouraging and fulfilling. Our programs, taught by our professional wellness,
training staff and social workers, continually motivate me and provide me with many resources,
educational programs, and webinars. Even during Covid, I and other volunteers were not isolated
from clients. We still were very involved. Heart House Hospice created new ways for us to continue
to support the people we serve in fantastic and exciting alternative ways, while
still staying safe.

As I continue to grow with Heart House Hospice, I have had many beautiful experiences with very courageous individuals facing their end-of-life journey; young and old, palliative or providing primary care, or those who are bereaved. Each story is different yet intrinsically connected by some common factors; a desire to be treated with dignity, validated, touched and heard, compassion and kindness.

Heart House Hospice is about compassionate hospice care, yet more. Many volunteers contribute to different areas of the hospice than what I already have mentioned. As a volunteer, at Heart House, I have the privilege of spending time, sitting with, and listening to people at various stages of their lives as they struggle with their serious illness. For example, I can be there for a caregiver who needs support while caring for an extremely ill loved one or those in deep grief.

Heart House Hospice is one of the pillars of our “village,” as it is a very much-needed service that may, at times, be an uncomfortable reality for people. However, it is a day-to-day reality for all the people we serve and their family members who are comforted by our staff and us as volunteers, even if it is only for a few moments or a few hours of their terribly busy and challenging days.

Building up the pillars of this village is a fundamental and necessary foundation. Even as we continue to work toward building a Hospice Centre with residential suites, in Mississauga, we can and always will provide incredible in-home hospice care to our community. Your support and donations are an integral part of our programs and services, so volunteers like me can continue growing, learning, and providing ever-better volunteer service.

Heart House Hospice has enriched me. Each day I learn so much and am eternally grateful for this experience. Please support Heart House Hospice so the volunteers can continue to provide support to families whose reality is that their loved one is struggling with a serious illness or a loved one is dealing with grief.


Cherry Wilken

Who is Heart House Hospice?
“In my 7 years of volunteering with Heart House Hospice I have come to realize the end-of-life support that the hospice provides for individuals and their families. It doesn’t matter who you are; the end-of-life experience is an emotional roller coaster and is heart wrenching.
Heart House Hospice is there to help people through these moments and it makes a real difference in people’s lives and truly helps them through it.”
-Len Bouwers, Volunteer –




❤️ Donate to Heart House Hospice Now

P.S. You can contribute any amount that you can afford. Donations from people like you are the lifeblood that allows Heart House Hospice to provide their programs and services, always at no cost to anyone who needs them. For help with your donation, please contact Shelley Maynard at 905-712-8119, extension 233 or by email to [email protected].