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The heart people

group of people standing in front of wall

The Western Counties Wing Fundraising Team, including members of Finch Auto Group, the Operational Stress Injury Clinic and the Parkwood Hospital Auxiliary.

Caring for and supporting others is in the DNA of our Parkwood Hospital Auxiliary. Since the days of selling coffee in the basement of the former Parkwood Hospital on Grand Avenue, volunteers in the Auxiliary have worked hard to improve the quality of life for patients and residents. 

“We’re heart people,” says Chris Livingstone, President of the Parkwood Auxiliary.

Livingstone graduated from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in 1970 and worked 40 years as a nurse. She retired in 2010 but wasn’t finished with a career that had meant so much to her over the years. Everything came full circle when she joined the Parkwood Hospital Auxiliary, coming back to the organization where she learned her vocation. It’s a role she finds quite rewarding.

“As a nurse I didn’t always have the time I wanted to spend with every patient,” says Livingstone. “Now in my volunteer role with the Auxiliary I have the time to hold a patient’s hand and listen to their stories for as long as I want.” 

The Auxiliary’s mission hasn’t changed much since it was founded in 1963. The group of volunteers supports the quality of life for patients, residents and staff just like they did in the early days. They operate two gift shops located on the main floor of Parkwood Institute, selling coffee, snacks, newspapers, clothing, accessories and gifts to anybody who steps through the door. They also partner with organizations like Finch Auto Group, which recently held a 50/50 draw during a London Knights Game in support of Veterans care at Parkwood Institute. 

The Auxiliary donates the money it raises towards improving patient care at Parkwood Institute. In the past three years alone, the Auxiliary has committed over $200,000 towards much needed equipment and research projects. Their dedicated support has enabled the Foundation to update the inventory of wheelchairs used by patients and residents, purchase a vehicle for the Driver Assessment and Rehabilitation Program and fund brain research. St. Joseph’s would be completely different without the volunteers in the Auxiliary who transform the patient experience into a people experience.

Interested in joining the Parkwood Hospital Auxiliary? Learn how you can make a difference by volunteering with St. Joseph’s. Apply today!

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