Offering quality of life
IT TAKES a special type of person to work, let alone volunteer, in palliative care.
Malcolm McLennan is one of those people.
Having seen five family members suffer from terminal illness, Mr McLennan developed a heartfelt interest in improving quality of life for those near the end of the road.
When he saw an advertisement in The Daily Examiner for a CRANES volunteer worker in palliative support five years ago, he jumped at the chance.
Since then the dedicated volunteer has supported a number of terminally ill patients and their families through tough times, offering companionship, comfort and a shoulder to cry on.
"A lot of men don't easily open up and express their feelings - there's an old saying that Balmain boys don't cry," Mr McLennan said.
"Well, I think that's a load of bullarky. Men who live by that credence do cry when there's no one around.
"They may be able to open up to me about things they don't feel comfortable talking to their family about."
Mr McLennan is ending his volunteering but has left the door open. He said it had been a truly rewarding experience that had allowed him to make special connections with patients as a friend and a confidant.
"A lot of people have said to me, 'Why do you do it? How do you do it? I couldn't'.
"It can be rather emotive but I've learnt to accept the fact that we're mortals and eventually it comes to an end.
"It's the strength of these people who are coming towards the end of their time that sticks with you. I really admire that.
"A simple thank you is the greatest reward you get."
CRANES program manager Maggie Barnewall said Mr McLennan would be dearly missed by the palliative care support team and community nurses who work closely with the volunteers to work out the patients' needs.
"The people we recruit are very special human beings who have compassion to go out and do this," Ms Barnewall said.
- CRANES Palliative Care is looking for volunteers across the Clarence Valley, and an information and training seminar will be held in Grafton from April 30 to May 1.
For more information, phone Maggie Barnewall on 6642 7257.