Dedicated Volunteer Brings Comfort to Cancer Patients in Springfield Lakes

Springfield Lakes, National Volunteer Week, Mater Cancer Care Centre, Maree Burns
Photo Credit: Supplied

Maree Burns, a 67-year-old nurse, has devoted over 350 hours to volunteering as a ward assistant at the Mater Cancer Care Centre in Springfield Lakes, offering a level of care and comfort that transcends the bounds of medical treatment.

A resident of Springfield Lakes, Maree dedicates her weekly shifts to providing hand and foot massages to cancer patients undergoing treatment, ensuring their utmost comfort during this challenging period. Her role extends beyond physical care, as she takes the time to engage in conversation and lend a listening ear, acknowledging the emotional toll accompanying such a battle.

“I do a lot of things to help out the staff too,” Maree said. “I get warm blankets for patients, restock the cupboards and even help elderly patients order their meals. But talking and listening to patients is something I enjoy doing.”

A Rallying Cry for Volunteers

In honour of National Volunteers Week (20-26 May), Maree is sharing her story and encouraging others to join her in positively impacting the community. Her call to action resonates with the belief that every act of kindness can make a profound difference in someone’s life, no matter how small.

Maree’s commitment to caring for others is deeply rooted. She previously worked as a nurse for Queensland Health and, more recently, travelled across Australia during the pandemic to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to regional communities. Her dedication to her craft and her community is unwavering.

Springfield Lakes, National Volunteer Week, Mater Cancer Care Centre, Maree Burns
Mater Private Springfield profiles. Hospital Volunteer Maree Burns
Photo Credit: Supplied/Renae Droop/RDW Photography

The impact of Maree’s efforts is best exemplified by the heartfelt expressions of gratitude from those she has served. One patient, in a vulnerable palliative state, expressed his appreciation for the “beautiful treatment” he received, while another, in her nineties, finds solace in knowing that Burns will be there to support her through her “numbered days.”

“Some people don’t have family or a friend to be with them during their treatment, and if I can make someone’s time in hospital better, then I will do my best. Being a volunteer is about making people feel valued and special,” Maree said.

A Community of Compassion

Maree is not alone in her mission to comfort those in need. Judy Johnson, Mater Volunteer Senior Manager, emphasised the positive impact volunteers have on the community. The Springfield Lakes team covers about 20 shifts a week and offers services such as ward assistance, pet therapy, massage, and patient transport.

Joining Maree in this endeavour is 71-year-old Christine Gillespie. For the past five years, she has dedicated herself to providing companionship and support to hundreds of patients recovering from surgery and other medical conditions at Mater Private Hospital Springfield.

Springfield Lakes, National Volunteer Week, Mater Cancer Care Centre, Christine Gillespie
Mater Private Springfield profiles. Hospital Volunteer Christine Gillespie
Photo Credit: Supplied/Renae Droop/RDW Photography

“Sometimes people come in after a bad fall and have had an unexpected stay, so I just try and make their time in hospital more comfortable,” said Christine, who has clocked up almost 500 hours volunteering.

Published 24-May-2024