Volunteer Spotlight: Virginia Spikes
“Empathy plays a huge part in my volunteer work. I can’t take credit for anything I do. I believe God has put me through things that make me understand where I am today.” Those are the words of Virginia Spikes who has been volunteering at Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care in Memphis since 2014.
Virginia was first introduced to Crossroads in Memphis when her beloved aunt was receiving care there for two years before she passed. “Crossroads took such wonderful care of my aunt,” said Virginia. “I had just retired after my aunt’s passing and wanted to give back to the community. Crossroads’ volunteer program has given me purpose.”
Typically, Virginia serves as a companion to three to four Crossroads patients at a time but does not mind doing “anything asked of her” throughout any given week. Whether it be making bereavement calls, baking cakes or decorating birdhouses for patients, Virginia does it all.
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Virginia loves connecting with families and is always delighted to hear when they have a “similar positive experience” entrusting Crossroads volunteers to spend quality time visiting with their loved ones. Virginia especially has a soft spot for patients in the dementia unit, as she watched her mother-in-law suffer from this disease and has a “deep understanding for it,” she said.
“I love spending time with patients in the dementia unit because I realize they get very little attention,” Virginia said. “It is so important to always say kind things because they can hear you even if they can’t respond.”
Virginia reflects back on a touching memory during her time at Crossroads with a dementia patient who was a Veteran receiving end-of-life care from Crossroads.
“It was this patient’s birthday. We put a quilt over him and an American flag in his hand and began to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’” Virginia said. “Suddenly he began to wave the flag around as we sang. He passed that night but not before he showed us all how much he always loved his country.”
Virginia is the proud mother of three children, grandmother of 12 grandchildren and great grandmother of one, with another on the way. She hopes to instill in them a motto she lives by: “love your neighbor as yourself,” something she does every day as a dedicated Crossroads volunteer. Virginia has a multitude of heartwarming stories from her seven years volunteering for Crossroads in Memphis and she hopes to continue to brighten patients’ days with no end in sight.
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