As Canada gets set to observe National Volunteer Week from April 14 to 20, it’s a perfect time to honour Oak Valley Health’s 900+ volunteers for their selfless dedication and commitment to serving their community.

Their presence, empathy, and creativity enrich the lives of Markham Stouffville Hospital’s (MSH) patients and their families daily.

From providing essential clerical support to improving the quality of patient care, and championing fundraising endeavours, the volunteers embody the spirit of selflessness and community.

If you have ever had to visit MSH’s Emergency Department (ED), you have likely come across some of the many volunteers.

Don Thompson is one of them and has been a volunteer with Oak Valley Health since Spring 2019 – almost five years.

“As an emergency concierge, I am positioned at the entrance to the Emergency Department. This provides me with the opportunity to welcome patients and visitors to the hospital, to help patients to sign in kiosks in the lobby, to explain next steps and to reduce their uncertainty and anxiety,” Thompson says. “For non-emergency patients, I provide direction to the appropriate clinic or diagnostic centre within the hospital. The best reward is when patients thank me for making their experience a little easier.”

Like many other hospitals, the ED at MSH has many nuances for volunteers to navigate. This is a particularly busy time, as cold and flu season presents a whole new set of challenges. Currently, the ED is experiencing increased patient volumes, up over 200 per cent over this period pre-pandemic. Despite the ED experiencing constant pressure, Thompson insists that he always feels very supported by the ED staff, which is critical in helping him navigate each shift.

“The most rewarding aspect of volunteering in the Emergency Department is working with the staff,” he says. “Their resilience, commitment, and sense of humanity is truly admirable and inspires me each shift.”

In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his extended family in the Thousand Islands.

“My interest in interacting with people and finding a way to contribute to the community in which I live led me to volunteering. When I look back at my time as a volunteer, I have only one regret: I wish I had made the decision to volunteer sooner,” he says. “Please consider volunteering at Oak Valley Health. It is a vital part of our community.”

Are you looking for an opportunity to give back to your community and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others?

Volunteering with Oak Valley Health could be the perfect fit for you.

Whether you’re passionate about interacting directly with patients and their families, assisting with administrative tasks, or participating in fundraising activities, we welcome individuals from all backgrounds and skill sets are welcome to join the dedicated team of volunteers.

Your time and dedication can make a significant impact on our community. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, apply today at


Photo: Don Thompson is one of the many dedicated volunteers at Oak Valley Health.

*Story submitted by Alanna Sloan and Zeeshan Sirkhot.

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