LAURIE MARINER drove past a sign for hospice care during her lunch break. That’s all it took. She called Mayo Clinic Hospice later that day to ask about volunteer requirements. That simple choice, the decision to act, transformed a routine drive into an extraordinary opportunity to be a positive force in the community.
Hospice care is a fundamentally unique branch of medical care. The focus of hospice workers is to provide the best quality of life possible for those with terminal illnesses and their families. They provide emotional comfort, ease physical pain, and help guide patients through their last stages of life with grace.
A helper at heart, Laurie has worked in the damage prevention industry for a year and a half. She works in procurement for Rhino Marking & Protection Systems and has a long history of volunteering in her free time. We interviewed Laurie about her experiences volunteering for Mayo Clinic Hospice. She shared a bit about the volunteer process, the value of hospice care, and what drives her to help those most in need.
What drew you to hospice care?
I had been with another nonprofit organization called Beds for Kids for four years as a board member. I decided I wanted to try something different and was thinking about hospice but didn’t know if I could do it. I saw the sign at lunch one day, googled the local Mayo Hospice, and called them. I let them know I had zero medical background and was not fond of blood. The coordinator I spoke to explained that I didn’t need a medical background and that there are hospice nurses and doctors to take care of medical issues. After talking with her, I said I’d be interested. When she asked where I lived, she was excited, “Wow, excellent, we need volunteers badly in your area. Could you start training right away?” I said yes.
You said you wanted to try something new when you began volunteering in hospice care. Was there anything else that drove you in that direction?
I have always volunteered with my daughter’s school, our church, and our community. Since my daughter graduated, I have more time. I thought, “Why not see if I can help someone?” I love people and love to help if I can. It makes my heart full when I can be there for someone. If I can make them smile, talk about their memories of family/childhood, or hold their hand and say nothing… if it takes their mind off being sick, it is worth it.
You mentioned being impressed with a patient’s positivity despite dealing with a terminal illness. That must be a powerful experience.
All the material things we have mean nothing. Having great memories to share with others and being grateful for what you have is what life is all about.
What can you say about the importance of the work Mayo Clinic Hospice does?
Mayo Clinic Hospice is so giving. They truly make the family priority and work with the family to know what each patient’s needs are. During my training I met other Mayo Clinic volunteers in the community. Many have done this for years because it’s so rewarding. I don’t want praise or recognition; I do it for the patients. I do it because they say it is nice to have someone visit or help. That means the world to me. Death is scary for some, but to be able to talk and help someone through their last days makes it a little easier.
What would you say is the cornerstone reason you’ve volunteered for multiple organizations throughout the years?
Faith makes me want to volunteer. Also, I don’t always have a lot extra financially, so why not give my time to help others become fulfilled mentally and spiritually?
Thanks to selfless volunteers like Laurie, along with doctors and nurses, the Mayo Clinic Hospice provides comfort and peace to those in their last stage of life. To learn more about Mayo Hospice and how to volunteer, please visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide/minnesota/hospice