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Hands and Hearts
26 December 2018

The HCA Volunteer Appreciation Night 2018 was a celebration of the spirit of volunteerism, and a much-deserved appreciation of our volunteers, who have given their time and effort selflessly.

By Toh Wei Shi, HCA Community Relations

Renowned poet Oscar Wilde once said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”

Volunteers have played a key role in HCA’s operations even before its official inception in 1989. Back then, the volunteers were largely involved in providing palliative care to patients, covering not just the medical but also the psychosocial aspects of their wellbeing.

Today, the volunteers at HCA – a 300-strong pool – play numerous roles in its operations. From organising activities for patients at the Day Hospice to escorting patients for their medical appointments and cleaning the houses of those who are unable to, HCA’s volunteers help out in many ways, filling in the gaps whenever needed. 

Volunteers from PSA regularly help out at the Day Hospice.

The Volunteer Appreciation Night 2018, which took place on 23 November 2018, was a celebration of the spirit of giving. More than 200 volunteers joined in the festivities of the evening, which was graced by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources.

Guest-of-Honour Dr Amy Khor gave a welcome address.

The highlights of the evening included a medley of performances as well as heartfelt sharing by HCA’s volunteers. One of the volunteers was Karan Singh Randhawa, a 21-year-old university student, who began volunteering in 2014. A visit by HCA’s Young Caregivers Programme (yCG) team to his junior college set him thinking about how he could contribute to HCA.

In his speech, Karan said, “I started out by volunteering at the Day Hospice every Wednesday. I remember having an incredible first day there – it was a crash course of sorts for me, as I had a lot to learn. Despite that I had so much fun, and became even more excited about being a volunteer.”

HCA volunteer Karan spoke about the joys of his volunteering experience.

Volunteers often share how pleasantly surprised they are to receive more than they give and it is a sentiment that Karan echoes as well. “I began my time thinking I would give some joy to the patients, but I eventually realised I’d finish each Wednesday with so much more joy in my own heart,” he shares. “Every patient there inspired me in their own unique way to work even harder for them, to serve and aid them better.”

Volunteers for Volunteers

It is said that kindness is a beautiful circle that is never broken and it is certainly the case for the Volunteer Appreciation Night 2018, in which volunteer performers kindly pitched in for the programme of the night. The entire event was also sponsored by a kind donor, in appreciation of the hard work put in by HCA’s volunteers.

The Casa Flamenco performed a series of enthralling dances.

The word “hospice” sometimes conjures dark images of death, pain and fear but the experiences of HCA’s volunteers are often quite the contrary. During her speech at the event, Dr Amy Khor, in relation to her pre-event chat with some volunteers, said, “When I spoke with the volunteers earlier, I asked them, ‘Isn’t it difficult to volunteer at a hospice?’ And they said no. They enjoy serving, meeting patients, helping, guiding and entertaining them.”

The positivity and compassion of HCA’s volunteers are what enables us to collectively add life to the days of our patients.

The night ended on a high note with a mass baby shark dance!