Kevin O’Neil, Volunteer

In 2019, I became a volunteer at Calvary Health Care Kogarah, as I was interested in being part of a palliative care biography service to document patients’ stories. I remember how caring and supportive the palliative care team were who cared for my wife before she passed away in 1998. This was the inspiration for me to volunteer.

I am now part of a team of biographers, that once trained are able to provide our patients with the opportunity to reflect on their life – their achievements, their relationships, special moments and the funny stories and ‘lessons’ that life brings. It is a chance for the client to have someone’s undivided attention as they reflect on their life and all they have achieved and done. They are the author of the story and they decided what they want to share. They can talk about their family history, careers, adventures, significant relationships or just ensure their favourite recipes are kept safe for the next generation as a treasured memento. It is totally up to them. The volunteer is there to listen and record their stories and then prepare and edit it for publication. We add photographs at the end and provide the client with a wonderful booklet of their story.

We also support parents and grandparents should they wish to write a special letter or leave a memory box etc. for their children or grandchildren.

I consider it a privilege to hear people’s stories and to see how much they enjoy telling their stories which can be affirming of the value of their life. It has been wonderful to hear the gratitude from the clients and see the biography service grow at Calvary.


If you are interested in volunteering with Calvary find out more here

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