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Making A Difference As A Volunteer

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Providence Medford Medical Center is once again looking for volunteers for its Hospice/Connections Volunteer Program. It’s a service that can make a big difference for someone facing a life-limiting illness.

Leah Rodgers is a Providence Connections client and she is battling breast cancer for a second time. This time it’s spread to her brain, stomach, lungs and spleen, but for Leah the fight is far from over.

“There’s still life to live, whether it’s changing diapers or playing with my grand kids…there’s so much more to life than to give up,” said Rodgers.

Still, fighting for her five grandchildren, while taking care of the two that live with her isn’t something she can do alone.

“If you have somebody with you, you can fight and you can succeed and you can still be happy in the middle of all of this,” said Rodgers. “There’s still smiles to be given, there’s still laughter to share.”

At least once a week, when Providence Connections Volunteer Nanci Eledge stops by Leah’s home, those smiles are exchanged and that laughter is shared. Nanci is a volunteer for the providence connections program. It’s similar to the hospice volunteer program, but is set up to help people like Leah, who are dealing with a life-limiting illness.

“It’s emotional support its just being there for her, and doing everyday things for her,” said Eledge. “I know the difference I am making in Leah’s life and I know it’s a big deal, it’s a big deal for Leah, and I know for other patients.”

As a volunteer, Nanci does anything and everything for Leah. Everything from talks in the living room, to taking the grand kids out, to being there when bad news comes.

“They gave me a diagnosis…it was for 6 months,” said Rodgers. “I called her and she said, ‘Don’t believe that, that’s not you,’ she just made me feel better, that’s not me and it’s not me to give up.”

It’s support Leah says she needs to not only get this far, but to go a lot further.

“I’m telling you, without Nancy, I don’t know if I would have made it this far,” said Leah. “I want them to know there is always a fight, you can always fight.”

Anyone over the age of 18 can become a volunteer for the Providence Hospice/Connections Program; call 541-732-6532. You must apply quickly, before a training session during the first week of November.