After visiting a friend who was a guest at Anam Cara, Judy didn’t want to leave. By the time Judy left that day she had already applied to become a volunteer and arranged to visit again the following week.
“It is very rewarding. I had been a full-time carer for 10 years for both my parents. I had left work and when that was over, I was absolutely exhausted and after I had healed – well, the best that I could heal – I needed something and it had to be something that was worthwhile. I have always cared about people and I have different friends that say I put every one first,” said Judy.
Judy has been volunteering for Anam Cara for over 9 years. Through this time, she has watched Anam Cara evolve into the wonderful place that it is today and values the special approach the team takes for guests in palliative care. “It is just an exceptional place to volunteer,” said Judy.
“It’s very professional and it’s about giving that personal dignity and showing them love and kindness, not only for our guests but for their families too. It’s a whole experience when caring for the person who is preparing to leave this life,” she said.
During her time at Anam Cara, Judy has met some exceptional guests that will stay with her forever.
“Some of my favourite moments have just been interacting with the guests, having a laugh and enjoying each other’s company. Every day is different depending on our guests are as far as their health and daily needs. Some days are wonderful, but some are difficult. I remember one of our guests – She was quite a young person, a married lady with a daughter and it was just exceptional support for a number of weeks. We provide various forms of accommodation and this allowed for her loved ones to stay with us as well. They could still be a family. It was a tough time but such a beautiful time.”
Anam Cara also brings a lot of perspective to the lives of our volunteers. “When I walk into Anam Cara it doesn’t matter what else is going on in your own life, it all just goes away. It’s quite extraordinary actually. You can have a lot going on that’s not too flash, and when I walk in, I leave it at the front door. It is such a privilege to volunteer.”