Volunteer Bio – Julia Marshall

I was born in Hertfordshire, England but grew up in a rural Dorsetshire, with my younger brother in a cottage that was 500 years old. Our small village, Gaunts Common, had no Church and no pub so it does not appear on most maps. It was a gift to John of Gaunt from William the Conqueror. The nearest church was built in 900 A.D. and the nearest town was Wimborne, with its famous minster, about 4 miles from where we lived.

Following a brief stay in Surrey, the family moved to North Vancouver in 1967, just after I had finished school. My first job was in Eatons Sales Audit Department but I was drawn to a career that would involve helping people. I was lucky enough to gain a position working in the Lab at Lions Gate Hospital where, for an extended period I was a phlebotomist (or legalised vampire), collecting blood samples from all over the hospital. As the hospital expanded its services, I ran the Outpatient and Pre-Op Lab while also covering Extended Care, Psychiatric, I.C.U. and Emergency. I was also an active member of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.

During this time, I met and married my husband and was surprised to learn that we had lived only seven miles apart in the U.K. His work took us to live in Chicago for a while and after our return I resumed working at Lions Gate Hospital, but in the Radiology Department where I became involved in helping set up the first C.T. Scanning Department there.

Once again, my husband’s work took him into the States on an almost daily basis and we found it much more practical to “border-hop” from the Fraser Valley. On that occasion, we lived in Mission for about 14 years during which time I developed a benign brain tumour which was successfully removed at Lions Gate Hospital. I was left with a few minor (and, as it proved, temporary) deficits which made it difficult to work full-time so I decided to start volunteering to test my limits.

I joined Community Services where I helped to set up the “Seniors’ Connection” and also became a “Friendly Visitor”. I worked with the Red Cross Medical Equipment Loans Service where I became co-chair with George Lewis.

This body of experience led me to join the Mission Hospice Society, working with Eleanor Lobb and Lilian Dudfield. We were instrumental in establishing the Christine Morrison Palliative Care Unit at MMH and in gaining the funding for a paid Co-ordinator position. I was elected Chair of the Hospice Society and served in that position for 6 to 7 years, during which time, in association with Jeanette Poulin, we reworked and rewrote the education and orientation courses for new volunteers.

My husband’s work took us, once again, back to North Vancouver where I was invited to join North Shore Medical Imaging, a private X-Ray facility owned and operated by the Radiologists from Lions Gate Hospital. During my 11 hears there, I helped set up and develop the protocols for their new MRI unit.

On retirement, we decided that we would like to move back to Mission which we had always enjoyed and where we still had many friends. Never being one to remain idle, I decided to offer support to the community by joining the MMH Auxiliary. I recently took on the role of Convener for the Loans Cupboard and am looking forward to further extending my experience of other areas.

One of my most rewarding experiences has been working one-on-one with older folk. I feel that, as we all age, we need the best that our community can provide in health care. Nobody wants to have to go outside their community for treatment and support. The caring work and present objectives of the Auxiliary are integral to the well-being of our community and it is my hope that I can play a part in helping achieve these objectives for the long-term benefit it aspires to provide.

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