It was the morning of New Year’s Day, and, as happens during holidays, the RIDE (Reduced Impaired Driving Everywhere) program was in full swing. When retired nurse Marilyn (Miller) Lundy was stopped by Toronto police for a routine check, she told the officer: “I’m off to volunteer at St. Mike’s.” His response was a big smile, and he waved her on.
St. Michael’s keeps alive something that can be forgotten — a very important message
of caring — in this technology-obsessed age. — Marilyn Lundy
Volunteering at St. Michael’s is a regular part of Marilyn’s Sunday, after attending Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral. The hospital has been a recurring feature of Marilyn’s life. She did her training at St. Michael’s Nursing School, graduating in 1959; she had her two children, Heather and Peter, here; and now she volunteers on our Palliative Care Unit.
Of her nursing education Marilyn says “It grounded you in a way that stays with you forever.” After graduation, Marilyn spent a year at the University of Toronto studying public health nursing. Going out into the community could be shocking but, after her St. Michael’s training, she was prepared. “We saw real life at the hospital and around its neighbourhood,” she says. This also served her well when, after her children had grown up, she joined the St. Elizabeth Visiting Nurses and “in the trenches” would meet up with some of the patients she had treated at St. Michael’s. Palliative care was a particular interest for her, and after further study she began teaching best practices to nurses across the province. She would even teach Bill Wade, the former Clinical Leader Manager of our unit; it was Bill who recruited her as a volunteer.
Besides giving her time, Marilyn is also a donor. She started making gifts “because I felt I could give back and I know it goes to a good cause.” She keeps up to date on what’s happening at the hospital by attending lectures organized by Cynthia Collantes, Director, Gift Planning, at the Foundation. She is also a fan of the Foundation’s Urban Angel magazine, particularly a recent issue which described the six living generations and how they interact. This she found of real practical interest; in addition to her volunteer work, Marilyn is part of a group of retired nurses who meet to talk about practice and she is mentoring a young nurse training at the University of Toronto. She thought that the information was so useful she has given copies to friends and to her son who is now a Director General in Foreign Affairs in Ottawa and her daughter-in-law who teaches at Carleton and the University of Ottawa.
For Marilyn, giving is important – to maintain the hospital, for research and for care. But above all “St. Michael’s keeps alive something that can be forgotten – a very important message of caring – in this technology-obsessed age."