LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2018) — Stop by the gift shop in Pavilion H in the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital and be greeted with a warm smile and a sympathetic ear.
Janice Boyd has volunteered in this gift shop, as well as other parts of Chandler, for over 30 years. She believes the community of patients, doctors and nurses help her just as much as she helps them.
"I love the people," Janice said. "It gets me out of the house. It keeps me busy. It gives me a good feeling."
Janice has a lifetime of volunteer experience under her belt, starting with serving in the PTA when her children were in school. As her youngest daughter started high school, Janice looked around for more opportunities. Her neighbor, whose husband was a doctor, approached her about working in the hospital. Janice jumped at the opportunity to help.
"Anything that needs to be done," Janice responded, when asked about the type of assignments she received as a volunteer. She has served on the UK Chandler Hospital auxiliary board serving as president and finance chair, as well as on the board of the Ronald McDonald House where she also drove the van. "When you volunteer, you are willing to do just about anything. You talk to the families and comfort them…you can't imagine what they go through. But it's a home away from home. It's a good place."
But Janice can relate to the patients at the hospital. Her husband Mel received a liver transplant at UK in 2006. Until his passing nearly eight years later, he volunteered in the surgery waiting room where he escorted families to visit patients.
"He was a role model for me," said Janice. "He was a great volunteer, even when he was working. And he loved it."
Janice recalls an incident about a month ago when a man visited the gift shop. After speaking with him, they realized they knew each other. He received a liver transplant at the same time as Janice's husband. This chance encounter, Janice believes, speaks volumes to the sense of community forged at UK.
"I can't say enough about the doctors and nurses in the transplant department. One lady from transplant came in this morning, and she still remembered me. Dr. (Roberto) Gedaly, who did my husband's surgery, comes in often to give me a big hug."
Daun Wickline, manager of the UK HealthCare hospital gift shops has known Janice for more than 30 years and thinks of Janice as a second mother to her and her family. Janice has often accompanied Daun to Atlanta to purchase merchandise for the shops.
"She has always been willing to help with whatever we might need, working an extra shift, changing displays, training a new volunteer or just offering a listening ear," Daun said. "She has a great big heart and everyone that knows her loves her."
This June marks Janice's 36th anniversary of volunteer work at UK. She will receive a special pin commemorating over 11,000 hours of service from UK's Volunteer Office. And she has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
"I can't give back enough," said Janice. "I feel like I can keep on giving for as long as I can keep on going."
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue