Every volunteer has their reasons for where and why they volunteer. For Peggy Neemann, a stroke survivor and a former Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals patient, serving as a volunteer is personal.
“Madonna gave me my life back and gave me hope, and now I am helping other people see there is life after a stroke,” Peggy said.
Peggy had her stroke in December 2016, right before Christmas. After her subsequent recovery at Madonna, Peggy started attending Madonna’s stroke support group. During those meetings, she learned about Madonna’s annual stroke camp, which she attends every year. And now, for three years, she’s been volunteering each week on the stroke unit.
“It’s a good feeling to give people hope, inspire them and share my stroke experience,” Peggy said. “You're here, and you're in the best place you can be for what happened.”
Madonna's peer volunteer program matches individuals with disabilities with people who are just starting the process of rehabilitation for the purpose of listening, sharing meaningful life experiences to provide hope for the future.
Marla Buresh, volunteer supervisor at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals, loves to highlight volunteers like Peggy.
“Peggy always comes in ready to visit with stroke patients and their families with a big smile on her face and a positive attitude to match,” she said. “We appreciate Peggy’s continued dedication to the Madonna peer program and for making a difference in the lives of others.”
When Peggy shares her story, the word ‘hope’ comes up a lot, and she says it has been critical to her recovery.
“I love to hear how much my story has helped other survivors and their recovery, just by sharing with them my same struggles,” Peggy said “But also sharing with them, [telling them] they can do it, and they’re at the best place for regaining your life back.”
Madonna peer volunteers contribute in a number of ways, including sharing their story, answering questions about the day-to-day experience and visiting individually with a patient and/or a family member.
Right now, Madonna volunteers have provided nearly 2,000 hours over the last three months.
“It's [like] family here, and I know a lot of the therapists now,” Peggy said.
For information about volunteering or to see which support groups we offer, please visit Madonna.org.