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Mary’s Story

Mary’s Story: From Candy Striper to Volunteer Mentor

Mary has a long history with El Camino Health. She was born at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, and her mother volunteered as a “Pink Lady” at the hospital while Mary was growing up.

As a teenager, Mary joined the El Camino Hospital Auxiliary as a candy striper, and then, as an adult, she returned to the hospital and served as a patient care representative in the emergency department. Most recently, she served as a weekend Chairman of the Day (COD). This assignment accommodated her professional career and allowed her to volunteer on the weekends.

Every other Sunday morning for nearly eight years, Mary was responsible for overseeing all of the volunteers on duty at the hospital during her shift. She specifically worked with Junior volunteers to provide direction and ensure all tasks were completed appropriately in preparation for patients. This was a great opportunity to guide these high school students and hopefully teach them some valuable life skills that they could take with them when they graduated.

“I had a really hard time in high school, so I wanted to be able to support teenagers with their experience during this time,” Mary said. “My desire to serve as a mentor is what motivated me to take on the role of weekend Chairman of the Day.”

In addition to working full time, Mary currently helps facilitate the guideline meetings for new volunteers and recently joined the No One Dies Alone (NODA) program. In this program, she will visit with people who are terminally ill and experiencing loneliness, ensuring that patients who do not have family members or close friends to be with them have the presence of a volunteer companion as they near the end of life.

“I remind our volunteers that we can provide relief to patients and families in the hospital,” Mary said. “Whether it’s a big or small impact on their lives, it might be just enough to get them through the day.” Volunteers play a vital role in making the hospital a welcoming place and they allow nurses and caregivers to focus on providing direct patient care and managing critical care needs.

“El Camino Hospital always has and always will have a special place in my heart,” Mary said. “The Auxiliary does so much for the community, and many people in the community don’t realize how many services we offer and how far reaching our program is.”

Mary has worked as a Human Resources Representative with SRI International for more than eight years. During the company’s 2019 Annual SRI Achievement Awards, she was the recipient of the award for community service efforts, which recognized her work with El Camino Health.