Volunteers make sure patients are happy

FOR more than 85 years kind souls from all around Sydney have given their time and compassion to the sick children in the Westmead Children's Hospital, previously the Royal Alexandria Hospital.

The hospital has more than 400 volunteers whose main goal is to "make sure the patients are safe and happy", said head of volunteers and sibling care Jill Jenkins.

"We're here to cuddle them, feed them, walk with them, read stories and whatever else we can do to help."

Her late daughter Lisa was in hospital for cystic fibrosis treatment and she said she was thankful for the help she received from the volunteers.

"After she died I wanted to give back and help other families like I was helped," she said.

That was 19 years ago and after volunteering "all over" the hospital for five years she was hired to co-ordinate the department.

"I really liked working as a volunteer and it was lovely to be able to help and see the patients getting better," she said. "It's very rewarding work and I feel very passionate about it.

"But it's not for everyone. You really need to make sure it's what you want and you're ready to commit."

Volunteers can help in the trauma, rehabilitation, oncology and burns wards or assist in administration.

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