Lismore Base Hospital volunteer Anne Bolan providing a foot massage to a patient in the renal unit. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
Lismore Base Hospital volunteer Anne Bolan providing a foot massage to a patient in the renal unit. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

Volunteer named for great work with patients and their feet

VOLUNTEER Anne Bolan of Goonellabah, has been nominated as a Hidden Treasure for her dedication to hospital patients, and in particular their feet.

The Australian Red Cross member comes in to the Lismore Base Hospital renal unit each Wednesday to offer dialysis patients massage therapy.

"I do it because I love it, it's part of my life," she said.

Doing chemo and massages

Even through her own journey with breast cancer, Ms Bolan visited the patients.

"I had breast cancer and this time last year I was going through chemotherapy," she said.

"I came in to see my beautiful patients, but I couldn't give them massages.

"Some of these patients I've known for nine years."

Lots of practice

When Ms Bolan began volunteering at the hospital 14 years ago she had no background with massage therapy, but with a bit of training the former school teacher has become well-known around the hospital.

"You soon get to know how to do it ... they tell me I'm good but I've had a lot of practice," Ms Bolan said.

This year 106 women have been recognised in the 2015 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.

The award honours the work volunteers perform within their NSW regional community.

Renal Unit case manager Jane Ruane nominated Ms Bolan for the award.

Touch and communication

She said it was because of the way Ms Bolan humanised the department.

"She and her fellow volunteer Janet have a marvellous way of providing care ... which makes patients feel special through the power of touch and communication," Ms Ruane said.

"Her genuine kindness makes a real difference to patients' quality of care and everyone is so glad she is well and volunteering in the unit again."

Ms Bolan plans to continue for a long time yet.

She recalled many memories walking through hospital wards offering patients massage therapy.

"I walked into this room ... and said to someone, 'I know your face,' and she replied, 'I know yours too', and I hadn't seen that person for 50 years," Ms Bolan recalled.

"And a lovely lady this morning, said to her daughter who was sitting next to her, 'see, look what this lady is doing, this is what I'd like you to do when I go home," she laughed.

The Honour Roll is an initiative of the Department of Primary Industries' Rural Women's Network. 



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