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Providing HELP in Yukon: how volunteers are making a big impact

When Lynn Alcock received a call from the Red Cross to assist temporarily in the Health Equipment Loan Program, she immediately said yes. Nine years later, the former mental health counsellor still enjoys giving her time to help Yukoners.

When asked what keeps her coming back, volunteer Cornelia Tegart says it is all about helping people.

“It is so gratifying. I can go home and feel like I really helped that person.”

The HELP location is small, but the impact to the community is massive.  In 2018, the team loaned out more than 639 pieces of health equipment, and in 2019, loans have already exceeded 525.  The average equipment loan is three to five months, helping people in Whitehorse and surrounding communities recovering from knee and hip surgeries, illness or to remain in their home longer. The most popular equipment loans in Yukon are walkers, canes, crutches and raised toilet seats, however wheelchairs and other equipment are also available. 
Volunteers in the HELP department in Yukon

The HELP team from left to right: Barb Nimco, Cornelia Tegart, Lynn Alcock, Elysia Dempsey, Michael Templeton and Pat Quealey


Volunteers like Janice Lindsay often have a personal connection to program.

“I had a friend who had a hip replacement and she borrowed equipment from the Red Cross. After all my years in health care, this seemed like something I would like to do.”

For Ruth Gotthardt, it was friend and well-known Yukoner Florence Roberts that inspired her to volunteer with the HELP program.
“Florence said ‘you have time and we need help’.  It seemed like a good opportunity to meet and spend time with different people.  Even in a small town, volunteering with Red Cross gives me the chance to connect with people I haven’t met before.”

The wildfires in Fort McMurray were the inspiration for Barb Nimco to volunteer. On seeing the mass evacuations, Barbara who is originally from Athabasca, Alberta immediately signed up to volunteer. 
“I was ready to take my motorhome and help.  There are a few steps to signing up, and I learned I could volunteer right here in Whitehorse.”

These four women each bring their personal story and skills to the Red Cross and have become fast friends.
“We really are ahelluva group.”

To volunteer with the Health Equipment Loan Program in your community visit RedCross.ca/Volunteer or email volunteerBCY@redcross.ca to learn more.

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