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WakeMed Raleigh Campus Volunteer Profiles

Following find profiles of a few spectacular individuals who volunteer on WakeMed Raleigh Campus.

John Agurs

Sometimes difficult challenges in life lead you to the most wonderful experiences. That's how my WakeMed volunteer story began.

I was 63 years old when I had a mild stroke. During my recovery, I went through rehabilitation at WakeMed Rehab and received excellent care. One day I noticed a gentleman in Healthworks (WakeMed's fitness center) wearing a red vest and a badge. I asked my physical therapist, "What's his job?" She told me he was a WakeMed volunteer, and then she asked me, "When are you going to sign up?"  I'd never thought about volunteering at a hospital, but she encouraged me to try it. I'm so glad I did.

For the past five years, I've volunteered to push the "Friendly Face Cart" around to patients, passing out magazines, books and candy. I also work on the 5C Observation Unit, delivering ice and water, putting gloves out for nurses, passing out crossword puzzles and sodas.  I talk with patients and families to see if there is anything they need, and I help the nurses in any way I can.  I really enjoy what I do. 

Before I retired, I was a retail sales manager with Kraft Foods, so I was used to interacting with people, and I still get to do that through my volunteering. Sometimes patients don't have family members nearby and they don't have visitors, so it makes me feel good to be the friendly face with a kind word for them.  We talk about our hobbies - mine is photography - and I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. They always thank me for my service.

I chose to volunteer at WakeMed because I was inspired by the care I received when I was ill.  Now it's my turn to return the favor.

John Agurs

Sharon LaRusch

I originally got my dog KiKi to be my running partner, but after learning about the therapy dog program at WakeMed, I knew KiKi's good nature would make her the perfect hospital pet volunteer. The rest was history!  KiKi and I work at the WakeMed Raleigh Campus, visiting several areas including Occupational Health, Pathology, the Children's Emergency Department, Pediatrics and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

It's so rewarding to walk down the halls with KiKi and to see the smiles spread across people's faces when they see her. She brings so much joy to everyone - especially children.

I'm just glad we have the opportunity to be a small part of WakeMed's mission of bringing caring and healing to our community. 

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer at WakeMed, understand that you don't need to have it all figured out before you come in to volunteer.  If your heart is leading you here, just listen to it and take action!  There is an incredible Volunteer Services team that will help you find your niche and provide you with the training you need to be a great volunteer.  In the end, I promise you will get far more than you give.

My connection to WakeMed goes back many years.  I worked for the hospital while I attended college at North Carolina State University.  After graduating, I worked in the corporate arena before starting my own business over nine years ago.  As a jeweler, I enjoy custom design work, repairs and helping my customers find something special.  My husband Norm and I enjoy gardening, golf, travel and volunteering.

Sharon LaRusch