RAH Women’s Auxiliary celebrates 120 years 

July 16, 2019

Comprised of 82 active volunteers, the Women’s Auxiliary aims to provide quality care to patients through volunteer services. Volunteers provide two shifts of service a month, with roles varying from managing gift shop sales to visiting patients during special occasions. A garden party was held on June 26 in the Ted and Lois Hole Healing Garden to celebrate their 120th anniversary.

Volunteers contribute countless hours to bettering the hospital experience

Story and photo by Vanessa Gomez

Under sunny skies, the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s (RAH) Women’s Auxiliary celebrated its 120th anniversary in late June with a rooftop garden party at the Ted and Lois Hole Healing Garden.

“As we know, at the front and centre are our patients and families, but also our volunteers, who really are invaluable members of the healthcare team,” says Alberta Health Services President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu, one of several speakers at the event. “Without them we would not be where we are today. They touch the lives of so many, from newborns to palliative patients.”

Established in 1899 as the Edmonton Public Hospital Aid Society, the Auxiliary began with six women who assumed the responsibility of the RAH’s mortgage and essentials such as furnishings, food, linens and employee salaries. Today, the Women’s Auxiliary has 82 active members who are dedicated to enriching the quality and safety of care at the hospital. These volunteers provide two shifts of service a month, with roles varying from managing gift shop sales to visiting patients during special occasions.

“Being in the hospital is not something people look forward to,” says Gloria Bauer, president of the Women’s Auxiliary. “Anything we can do to make the patient’s stay more comfortable or enhance learning opportunities for staff is really important.

“There are lots of challenges,” Bauer adds, “but we have a great team of volunteers who enjoy giving back. It really makes you feel like you’re part of the Royal Alex family.”

The Women’s Auxiliary has led several projects to enhance the hospital experience, including the revitalization of the Ted and Lois Hole Healing Garden and the purchase of new furniture for the CK Hui Heart Centre, all funded by proceeds from two, auxiliary-run gift shops within the hospital. The auxiliary also funds medical equipment and invests in educational seminars and conferences for staff.

“They dedicate so much time and energy, and have the deepest commitment to this hospital,” says Selikke Janes-Kelley, Acting Senior Operating Officer at the Royal Alex. “Without them and the RAH Foundation, we really couldn’t do the work we need to do here. They make sure we have comforting spaces like the Healing Garden and they also take care of the staff.”

To find out more about the Women’s Auxiliary, or to volunteer as a member, please leave your name and contact information in one of the RAH gift shops, or apply to volunteer.