Hazel Lowe from Glasgow’s west end volunteers as a complementary therapist at the hospice every Friday.
By giving up a few hours of her time once a week she helps patients and carers.
Hazel left her job in IT when her father was diagnosed with cancer. When she saw how well he responded to complementary therapists, she decided to retrain.
“It was something I’d always wanted to do and been interested in but I never seemed to get the time,” says Hazel. “I waited until a year after my dad died before I approached the hospice, but I knew I wanted to make a long-term commitment.”
Hazel has gone back to college to study and plans to carry on at university.
“Touch can be very important, it can be very reassuring, and the patients are in control,” she adds. “I’m giving the treatment but it’s up to them what they want to do and they can change anything if it doesn’t suit. A lot of the time they’re not in control of anything else, so it’s nice to have that.
“I offer a range of different treatments, from massage and aromatherapy to reiki and reflexology. The patients decide, they can try lots of different therapies. People find different things work better for them. It gives them the opportunity if they want to do anything further to see what they enjoy.
“Sometimes you can see a real difference with someone from the first visit to the last, and that’s the reward, that’s why I love doing it: you are making a difference.
“I leave the hospice buzzing after I’ve finished my shift, I don’t feel tired or drained. You feed off the fact that you’ve helped someone.
“I was in IT for 20 years before I changed careers. This is far more rewarding, it’s all about balance and what’s important to you.
“You get so much out of volunteering. A lot of what you do in complementary therapies is about helping other people but you do get so much back yourself. I’d encourage anyone thinking about it to go for it.”