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Celebrating the dedication and compassion of volunteers at Mary Bridge Children’s

Posted on Apr. 20, 2021 ( comments)

This week marks seven days of appreciation for the hundreds of unofficial team members that donate their time and talents to Mary Bridge Children’s – it’s National Volunteer Week.

Last year, 5,975 MultiCare volunteers donated 107,252 hours of time to make sure that Mary Bridge Children’s staff and patients had everything they needed to be successful, even during a global pandemic.

The following vignettes highlight just some of the many passionate individuals that help Mary Bridge Children’s teams and enhance the patient experience.

Meet the “bead lady”

Susan Hayes

For more than 15 years Susan Hayes has been sharing her time and talents at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Affectionately known around the hospital as ‘The Bead Lady’, Susan supports Beads of Courage. This program provides children coping with serious illness colorful beads to record, tell and own their stories of courage.

“I love helping children through their journey and celebrating their courage,” Susan says. 

Mary Bridge Children’s Child Life Assistant, Lou Ann League appreciates Susan’s dedication and positive attitude.

“Susan’s passion about this program is contagious and it spreads to others she connects with along the way including patients, families, staff and other volunteers,” Lou Ann says. “Her positive energy and enthusiasm sparkle everywhere she goes. She’s an amazing liaison for our Mary Bridge Children’s staff.”

COVID clean

Dung Halfhill 2

Dung Halfhill has only been volunteering for three months and already has served close to 200 hours

Office Coordinators, Judy Dunn and Tara McWhorter, want to recognize Dung Halfhill for her “gentle communication with families and her non-intrusive attention to detail in cleaning front office registration/check in desks and the seating area. We feel like this communicates outstandingly our commitment to health and safety and demonstrates our commitment to excellence.”

Serving lunch and laughs

John Simchuk & Ken Emly

Visiting the doctor is never easy, especially for children. It can be scary for a child to go into a big building with unfamiliar surroundings. Volunteers John Simchuk and Ken Emly not only help alleviate stress at the entrance of the Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center, they ensure children in our community have access to nutritious meals as well.

“John and Ken treat every child with so much kindness and respect,” Mary Bridge Health Center screener, Jessica Dickson says. “Parents often boast at the door coming in how sweet they are. I see them get down on the children’s eye levels and talk to them and make jokes with their parent’s. If a child is shy, they will attempt to comfort them and usually end up making them giggle. They create a such a welcoming energy when people are coming and going.”

In partnership with the USDA Summer Food Service Program more than 15,000 meals were provided to children who no longer had access to their school lunch program due to COVID-19. Volunteers like John and Ken are preparing and serving those meals to continue to support local families need.

“I look forward to seeing them each week and I know the families are just as appreciative,” Jessica says. “John and Ken exhibit all of Mary Bridge Children’s values and bring what we are about to life every time they come.”


Learn more about MultiCare Volunteer Services and explore volunteer opportunities at Mary Bridge Children’s and across MultiCare.

About The Author

MultiCare Health System
MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 20,000 team members, including employees, providers and volunteers. Learn more. More stories by this author
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