Sisters walk the talk of “giving back”

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 26, 2014

(Left to Right) April Owensby (daughter of Sonya) attends HoCF Volunteer Training with the Childers sisters: Sharon Sistare, Sandy Childers, Sheila Walker, and Sonya Owensby

(Left to Right) April Owensby (daughter of Sonya) attends HoCF Volunteer Training with the Childers sisters: Sharon Sistare, Sandy Childers, Sheila Walker, and Sonya Owensby

Their names all start with the same letter, but that’s not the only thing the four sisters have in common. They all generously give of their time as volunteers for Hospice of the Carolina Foothills (HoCF).  They have a special connection, as HoCF cared for their mother, Mildred Childers on and off during the last few years of her 13-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
“I know it sounds strange, but we always liked it best when Mom was on hospice,” Sheila says. “We knew that we had extra help, someone to call at any time, and that was such a comfort.”
Recalling the care her Mother received, Sharon says, “I cannot even begin to tell you what a wonderful experience that was for our family.”
“Y’all are angels on Earth,” echoes her sister, Sandy. “The care given to our mother by Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, and especially at the Hospice House, meant so much to our dad. He told us more than once, ‘I’m so glad your mother is here’.”
Sheila fondly remembers the time she spent at the Hospice House with her mother, and the exceptional care given to her. “They didn’t just take care of Mom, they took care of all of us,” she explains. All staff, including nurses, doctors, and volunteers were so caring and helpful, she knew she had to give back. “We can’t ever give enough to pay back all that was given to us by Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, but volunteering gives us a chance to give back in a small way, and we’re thankful for the opportunity.”
The sisters went through the volunteer training program together, and even recruited April, Sonya’s daughter, to join them. The sisters have visited with patients at the Hospice House, as well as patients in private homes throughout the area, and they are currently working on a new assignment: to provide volunteer services at the four nursing communities in Inman, S.C.
Together they will ensure that patients in these communities have the same wonderful volunteer companionship that their mother received. While their mother was in a nursing home, one of the four sisters was there with her every single day for three years. They were shocked at how many lonely residents there were. For this reason, the sisters are especially glad to touch the lives of patients who may otherwise never have any visitors.
The impact these and other volunteers make on the lives of our patients and their families is tremendous, and yet Sheila insists she definitely gets more out of volunteering than she gives.
“Hospice gave us the most important thing: to know that you’re not alone,” says Sheila. Thanks to the generosity of these and other volunteers, the patients and families served by Hospice of the Carolina Foothills will have the same peace of mind.
HoCF will offer volunteer training during the evenings in late July.  For more information or to register, call the Volunteer Department directly at 864-457-9125 or 828-894-2881.

– article submitted
by Marsha Van Hecke

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