Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – “Volunteering with a Terminally Ill Patient”

Name: Alexandria Wonski
From: Metuchen, New Jersey
Grade: my grade level in 2015-2016 was 10th
School: Bishop George Ahr High School
Votes: 0


When
I was in 8th grade going into 9th, I knew of a man diagnosed with
ALS. Upon learning of his condition, I decided to help him throughout
the remainder of his life. Through 14 months, I volunteered 255 hours
to help that dying man. I would visit his house several times per
week after school. I would help prepare meals, entertain, feed, move
things, and do many other basic tasks. What i did most was what
humans take for granted being able to do every single day. I chose to
help, because I knew I could provide him a better quality of life and
some joy. I chose to do this as I believe that everybody deserves
caring people surrounding them. By me being loving and being there
for him, he felt less hopeless about his situation.


My
biggest challenge while volunteering was to be able to stay cheerful
at all times. I wanted to help him feel less depressed. Not being
able to move at all and losing the ability to speak is a horrendous
experience. Besides aiding with simple tasks, I could give emotional
support. That same challenge provided me satisfaction. I knew that I
helped make the end of his life better by bringing him delight. From
this position, I learned how fragile life is and how much of a
difference can be easily made by showing love. I was able to help
this man through the last months of his life. He felt less suicidal
and happier because he knew people cared and would try to take care
of him. My career goals align with this to an extent as I want to
research and work within the field of Psychology. I want to be able
to find better ways to help those struggling with mental illness.


Looking
towards the future, I find this act of volunteering as vital because
it helped me grow as a person. It helped me develop compassion and
patience through tedious tasks. In my opinion, the term “forward
looking” suggests the idea of personal growth. More people should
volunteer when hearing about dying patients. It affects not just
their life but also the lives of everybody involved to a great
extent. It brings the patient some happiness to look forward to every
day.


Sick
patients tend to not have much to focus on other than their own
depression and sorrow. When somebody shows that he or she cares, it
makes such a huge difference. I want the world to start paying
attention more to the ill – not ignoring them in hospitals. If I came
back years from the future, I would view my volunteer service as
having made as difference. I made someone feel better in the last
moments of his life. I helped not only the patient but also myself as
I saw a new perspective on life. That changed me into becoming a
stronger and more caring individual.


Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".