Holly Dole Speaks of Her Joy of Volunteering at the BCHC and How it Represents Safety, Comfort, & Home.


Holly Dole's journey with the BCHC started seventeen years ago when she moved to Barrie in 1997. She had a toddler, was pregnant with her second child, and was all on her own. While Holly was visiting the midwives she learned about the Single Moms group that was run by the BCHC. 


She joined the group and saw it as an opportunity to meet new people and make some new friends. Holly speaks fondly of the staff at the BCHC. 

She remembers one day in particular. “One time I went to a meeting and one of the Health Promoters asked me how I was doing and I burst out crying. She took care of me, told me to go home and have a rest. They have all been such great mentors to me as a young mom and have always been there to support me.”

Holly started volunteering at the BCHC three years after participating in the programs. Her first volunteer role was working at the Information Desk. From there she has fulfilled many other volunteer roles including the Barrie Good Food Box from it's beginning in 2005. She has most recently taken the lead on a new Coffee Cart program. When Holly was 6 she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She had full cranial chemotherapy and radiation from ages six to eight. At age 8 eight Holly acquired chicken pox. The doctors think that the combination of the chemo, radiation and chicken pox caused the seizures. By eighteen the Leukemia was cured, but the seizures remained. While she has five to seven small seizures per day, the cancer has never come back. In the following short interview Holly gives us a peek into what it has been like for her as a volunteer.

BCHC: What made you want to volunteer at the BCHC?
Holly: “ODSP wanted me to work so I asked the Community Health Worker if I could help. I took the Proton and WHMIS courses and worked at the Information Desk and I assisted with the Good Food Box”.
BCHC: What do you love most about volunteering?
Holly: “ I love it here. At the BCHC I am home. If I have a a seizure at the BCHC people don't look at me like I'm drunk or on drugs, they take care of me."
BCHC: Did you miss volunteering while you were away from it?
Holly: “Yes! When I came back to volunteer at the BCHC it was like I was home - comfortable and relaxed. Everyone there knows me. It is like a safety zone. If I have a seizure at the mall nobody helps me but when I am at the BCHC people always help me and take care of me. I don't know how else to describe it - it's a comfort zone. The BCHC has been such a big part of my life since I moved to Barrie and I can’t imagine not being a part of it.
BCHC: Tell us about your new role with the Coffee Cart.
Holly: “I take the Coffee Cart around the building and offer coffee and tea to anyone in the waiting room and all the staff. I am there on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 10:00-12:00 and would love to do it every day.
BCHC: What is your favourite part about your role with the Coffee Cart?
Holly: “I love to laugh and make other people laugh. It (the coffee and tea) is free. People sometimes want to pay me for the coffee but I suggest that they pay it forward or, if they really want a charge, I tell them I will always take a hug. The clients say it's such a nice gesture. Another lady said to me...'I really want to thank you for that. I woke up and was having a really down down day and you making me coffee really made my day! That made me feel so happy. I now have some regular customers (clients) and I know what they take”.
BCHC: What is your favourite thing to do?
Holly: “If it is a beautiful day I love to ride my scooter to the beach, sit down under my tree, read my book, listen to my tunes, sip on my water and loose track of time. That's what I do to relax.”
BCHC: What are you most proud of?
Holly: “Being alive. That's it. Being alive. I have met other people that had cancer as a kid who are very angry but I am not like that. Every day I'm in a heck of a lot of pain. I get migraines twice a day but no one can tell. I have soft tissue damage in my knee and my left ankle swells but if I need help, I will ask for it. I'm positive and I am proud of that.
BCHC: What is your inspiration?
Holly: “Music. Music speaks every language. It is the universal language. Life is a learning experience. You should not go through one day without learning something new. I love to make people laugh and if I do that at least once a day then I am happy”. 

In addition to running the Coffee Cart program, Holly also helps ou with Good Food Box and the Cafe Connect program that takes place once per month at the BCHC. The BCHC is grateful to have Holly as a volunteer and appreciates her sense of humour and her contagious smile. 

Thank you Holly.

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