Andrea Buckland, a Mary Potter Hospice biographer based in Kāpiti, was the runner up for the national ‘Volunteer in a Health Care Provider Service – Individual Category’ at the 2016 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards last week.
Andrea has worked closely with Mary Potter Hospice patients and their families in her various volunteer roles in the Kāpiti area since June 2011. She is a highly skilled volunteer biographer who works with terminally ill patients in their own homes to record the person’s life story – capturing the essence of the person in their own words, and taking an individual approach – creating a professionally produced biography keepsake for the person and their loved ones.
Andrea was nominated for the award by Hospice occupational therapist, Linda Miller.
“Andrea has brought pleasure to many patients and their families in her role as a volunteer biographer. She has generously shared her myriad of skills – (both technical and interpersonal skills) with other biographers and mentored new biographers in the role whenever needed. She often goes above and beyond the call of duty – [including] driving from Kāpiti to Wellington to visit patients she has been working with when they have been admitted to the Hospice inpatient unit [in Newtown], in order to help them complete their biography when she knows that their time is short and the importance this has to them.”
As well as creating biographies, Andrea also volunteers as a day unit volunteer, looking after patients who attend the weekly group, assists with the biannual Remembrance services, and is quick to offer her help with any other special requests.
“I really enjoy being part of both the biography team and the day unit in Kāpiti. Every life story is so interesting, you meet people you wouldn’t usually meet and learn about history in such a personal way. Patient’s stories are a wonderful gift they leave their families and most are proud they can create something so significant especially when they are facing so many other challenges.
In the Day Unit, the new friendships, camaraderie, learning and fun that happens within such a diverse group (both patients and volunteers) is a special thing indeed. Like any volunteering, you get just as much, if not more, than you give and I feel very lucky to be part of it.”
Andrea wanted to thank Linda for nominating her. “Linda really values all the volunteers, which is a big factor in having a wonderful team that works well together.”
Andrea received her award in parliament on 13 June from Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Health, pictured.
There were five categories of awards and over 100 applicants, which was double the number of people nominated in 2015.