The Value of One, the Power of Many

Barb Rickards is a Patient Family Advisor and a volunteer in the Surgical Day Care and Wayfinding Services.

2021 National Volunteer Week (April 18 – 24): Thank You Volunteers!

We are all in this together! So goes the saying that has become synonymous with the COVID-19 pandemic. It also ties in well with Volunteer Canada’s theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week: the value of one, the power of many.

Prior to the pandemic, hundreds of volunteers stepped up in countless ways to support patient and family centred care at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, as Hospital and Foundation Volunteers and Patient Family Advisors. Fortunately, for our Hospital, a few of those volunteers have been able to continue volunteering on-site, remotely, or virtually. Many volunteers found new ways to support the Hospital, creating greeting cards for patients, sewing masks to be sold in the gift shop, or making blankets and slippers for Paediatric patients.

We also recognize those who stepped back from volunteering this year to protect themselves and others, either due to personal choice or in large part because our Hospital, like most in Ontario, limited most or all volunteer activity during the pandemic. As Volunteer Canada says, “The value of one person staying home helps protect their network, the power of many people keeping their distance helps protect the community.”

At this time of year, we make a special effort to recognize volunteer contributions. Hundreds of volunteers give generously of their time in departments and services throughout the Hospital: the Patient Clothing Cupboard, Information Desk, Operating Room Family Waiting Area, Pacemaker Clinic, Rehabilitation Transport, Healthy Lifestyles Rehabilitation, Seasons Gift Shop (including the Jewellery Gallery), Volunteer Association, Regional Cancer Care Northwest, Surgical Day Care, Pre-Admission, Renal Services, Emergency Department, Bariatric Centre, the Courtyard Gardens, Endo, Wayfinding Service, and the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), to name just a few.

They come to give back to the Hospital; learn about a career in health care; meet new people and make new friends; support their community’s Hospital in an advisory capacity, or by helping out with fundraising.

While the Volunteers represent a wide array of ages and backgrounds in our community, they all have one thing in common – they make a tremendous impact on the experiences of patients and families from all over Northwestern Ontario.

Visit and go to the section ‘Join our Team’ to find more information or e-mail or call (807) 684-6266.

Patient Family Advisors volunteer to share their valuable insights and first-hand knowledge of how the Hospital’s services impact patients. Patient Family Advisors help us meet the needs and priorities of our patients, families and community. They have direct input and influence the policies, programs and practices that shape the care and services that people receive. For more information, visit the website and go to the section ‘Join our Team’, call (807) 684-7322 or e-mail

Volunteers are also critical to the success of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. They help make a healthier Northwestern Ontario by providing administrative assistance, assisting with special events, and selling raffle tickets at various locations throughout the region. At this time we currently are unable to have our volunteers on site, and unable to host in person events but we cannot wait to have everyone back! Volunteers can help make a healthier Northwestern Ontario by assisting with one of our many special events or selling raffle tickets at various locations throughout the region, to name just a few opportunities.

To sign up as a volunteer with us at call 345-4673 or email

Volunteers are the backbone of any organization, and they are an essential link to the community. We value what they do to make the patient experience better.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week 2021, we want to thank all of the Volunteers who help make a difference for all of our patients and families.

During National Volunteer Week, and all year long, we say thank you volunteers!