Stamford Health is thankful for the many volunteers that make a difference at the hospital every day. Our staff ensures that our volunteers are well-matched and well-recognized for their individual strengths and talents, with a fit for everyone – from teenagers to adults! Today, we're spotlighting Marianne Tagliavia, who has been a volunteer since 2014 with 740+ volunteer hours logged. We hope her story may inspire you to volunteer; you can learn more about our volunteer opportunities here.
1. Thank you for all you do for Stamford Health! Tell us about your volunteer work.
I’m a Tender Touch volunteer. Tender Touch is a light hand or foot massage that we give to our patients with a lavender or unscented lotion. I’m also trained in reiki and offer energy work to our patients.
2. What do you typically do on your shifts?
I started my volunteer career here, by visiting patients. In the past, I took care for my father-in-law when he was in the hospital, and I remembered whenever I did a massage on his hands or feet that helped him relax. One day (the hospital) told me I could get trained in that and do it properly, and I transferred to the Tender Touch volunteers.
I also took a reiki course that the hospital offered. To me, reiki is all based on energy and giving the patient energy. But it’s not my energy, it’s (gathering) energy from the universe and importing that energy to the patient. You put that energy over their body or their head, or you hover over their body and allow the energy to flow through you to the patient. Energy is therapy.
You can’t do much when you’re not in the medical field. But we’re all humans, we all need attention, we all need touch, we all need TLC. I can go in there and say, “I’m not here to poke you or take blood. I’m just here to offer you a little relaxation.” If that’s what I can offer them, that’s great.
3. Why did you become a volunteer?
I’ve always been very afraid of hospitals. Funny enough, I’m married to a physician. (Someone up there is having fun with me!) I didn’t have a very good rapport with hospitals and doctors. Growing up, it always scared me. I thought the only way to get over my phobia would be to immerse myself in that world. So I figured I'll volunteer, I'll get over my fears, that will be it. Little did I know, I would absolutely love it. The reason I continued is that I love it, I learn every day, and I’m with wonderful people all day long — so why not?
4. Do you have any advice for others looking to get involved?
Don’t be afraid, just try it. Patients are people, just like you and me. What would you appreciate if you were in that situation? Go from there. Don’t be afraid. You’ll get out so much more than you put in. It’s a wonderful way of spending time with other human beings, whether it’s staff members or patients, and Stamford is a wonderful environment to volunteer and to learn.