Spending several months in south-central Africa in 1988 and seeing the effects of HIV/AIDS firsthand on people who didn’t even know they might have the disease is what prompted Lisa Sommers to get involved with Casey House. “I wanted to be involved with an organization that was jumping in right away to do something to help those here who were affected and who were facing such awful discrimination and ill health”, says Lisa Twenty-six years after she started volunteering in 1990, Lisa had done an awful lot of helping.
When asked to share a rewarding experience at Casey House, Lisa told this story:
“I was volunteering in the home hospice program helping someone who wanted to be cared for in their own home. One fellow was not very happy, nor appreciative. I just wished that he could be a bit happier but he never was. I tried not to let it bother me as I had great compassion for him, since he was in a very painful state and bedridden. I was cheerful, helpful and left him alone when he told me he wanted to be alone.
One day, after I had talked with him and fed him and asked whether he wanted me to stay or go, he seemed friendlier and happier and stunned the heck out of me when he just looked at me for the longest time and didn’t say anything..…so I didn’t either. He had a look of softness in his eyes and just stared at me, almost lovingly, for the longest time. I kept looking at him and gently smiling…..and finally he said in a very emphatic tone, “you bring me such comfort” and smiled at me. Given how he had been for so many months, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing or his change in disposition and I almost couldn’t bear standing there to hear it….it was almost too much! However, it was beautiful! And it reminded me of why I set out to volunteer in the first place. It was so gratifying.”
Lisa believes in Casey House’s model of treating all people compassionately and with great care and says she is gratified at “being a very small part of the world-class model of care that Casey House is renowned and recognized for.”
In celebration of Volunteer Recognition Week, April 10-16, Casey House is featuring volunteers who contribute their time and expertise to help Casey House deliver inspired, compassionate care to men and women living with HIV/AIDS.