MY name is Judith Christy.
In 2003 I saw an advertisement in the newspaper asking for people to volunteer to be grandparents to children at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
I contacted the social worker and explained that I was interested in the program, however I was not a real grandmother, but a Sister of Charity.
She assured me that was perfectly fine, as there were other sisters who did volunteer work, including an Anglican sister.
So I was set to become a volunteer grandmother at the hospital.
Three to five days a week, weekends included, I volunteer as a grandparent to children at the hospital.
I work with one child at a time and this contact continues until the child goes home or goes to heaven.
I just nurse the children if they are babies.
Really sick children, I hold their hands.
A 7 year old boy in a wheelchair was pleased to be taken into the garden.
A 15 year old girl enjoyed playing cards and board games and often beat me!.
Sometimes we even celebrate birthdays and that is lots of fun.
Before I commence I meet the children’s parents.
The social worker takes me to meet the parent/s of my “proposed grandchild” to see if I would be suitable.
The parent has the right to decide if the person will suit their child.
My visits allow some respite time for the parents, which enables them to catch up with many necessary activities they do not get done when there is responsibility for a sick child and there may be little family support around. They can have a break and enjoy a cup of coffee.
The hardest thing about my work is when a child dies and goes to heaven.
The greatest joy is making children laugh.