Hearts of the Community: Supporting her local hospital for over 20 years

Shelagh Bell has been giving her time to various organizations within the Saanich Peninsula Hospital for over 20 years

Shelagh Bell

Shelagh Bell has been giving her time to various organizations within the Saanich Peninsula Hospital for over 20 years, and nominators describe her as being “matched by none.”

Bell began volunteering within the hospital in 1992 with the Auxiliary as a gift shop supervisor. She quickly became more and more involved with the organization, eventually becoming the Annual Bazaar Convenor, the secretary and the president.

As the years went on, Bell became involved with the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation as a board member and secretary.

“During her six-year tenure, Shelagh dedicated herself to building both good relations between the Auxiliary and the Foundation and staff and patient morale,” explained Karen Morgan, executive director of the Foundation.

“This led to many exciting meetings as Shelagh advocated for patients and asked the difficult questions.

“Her support of the Foundation’s fund-raising campaigns is legendary.”

After the loss of her spouse and interacting with Carmela Vezza, a social worker and now the hospital’s resident care manager, Bell became a volunteer with the Palliative Care unit in 2007.

“She assisted the Social Work department in organizing, running and ensuring with determination that all the families, loved ones and caregivers who lost someone received a bereavement card and phone call from the hospital,” explained Vezza.

“Without her focused and single-minded determination this important program would have lapsed.”

More recently, Bell began volunteering with the Extended Care Unit, portering residents to the on-site visiting dentist.

“Despite a recent knee sugery and fall, Shelagh didn’t hesitate and took on the role with the same dogged determination she does with everything,” said Vezza, adding that Bell’s positive attitude is what keeps many others going.

“Shelagh’s determination for success in all her volunteering activities is only tempered by her sense of humour, one that is welcomed and appreciated by those working with her.”

Bell said she continues to volunteer because she feels supporting the community’s hospital is integral to the Saanich Peninsula.

“The staff and doctors at Saanich Peninsula Hospital are doing a hard job with limited resources,” Bell said.

“As volunteers, we can help them be more effective while letting them know how much the community values them.”