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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Peer Volunteers Find Several Ways to Give Back

October 06, 2022

Madonna’s mission would not be possible without the support of our amazing volunteers. These men, women (and dogs!) give of their time and talents to encourage our patients on their rehabilitation journey.

Volunteering can take a variety of forms. For former patients Tyler Curnes and Matt Koppen, it is peer mentoring. Madonna's Peer Volunteer Program matches former patients with people who are just starting the process of rehabilitation for the purpose of listening, sharing meaningful life experiences and providing hope for the future.

Tyler recovered from Guillain-Barre syndrome at Madonna in November 2021. The owner of Main Street Studios in Elkhorn, Tyler now partners with Madonna’s recreation therapy team to offer community outings to his glass studio. For fellow artist and brain injury survivor, Elias Heppler, the outing was a great opportunity to practice community reintegration and be around other creative people.

Matt Koppen lives in northern Iowa, so he offers support to current patients via a phone call, Zoom, or in-person whenever he returns to Omaha for follow up appointments with his cardiologist. The carpenter spent several weeks at Madonna in March 2022 recovering from a heart transplant and subsequent stroke in his spinal cord. He recently met with Nick Howe, a spinal cord injury survivor, to talk about navigating a new normal and share tips on how to get back to beloved hobbies.

Madonna welcomes anyone interested in volunteering. Each year more than 300 volunteers extend hospitality and care to patients, their families and visitors, annually donating approximately 24,000 hours in at least 50 different positions throughout Madonna. For more information on available opportunities and to fill out an application, click here.

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