At 100-years young, and with 54 years of service under her belt, Martha Bachmann is the longest-serving volunteer in the history of Stanford Health Care.
As a Stanford news story explains, twice a week Bachmann drives to Stanford Hospital for her shift. She arrives early, so she has plenty of time to stock her shopping cart with stuffed animals, books, magazines and more. Once her cart is full, Bachmann heads out into the hospital to offer these small comforts to patients. She also dispenses her own special brand of "medicine."
"You get to meet the patients, their visitors and the hospital help," Bachmann said. "It’s one of the best jobs anyone can have in the hospital. We don’t stick. We don’t poke. We just bring some happiness."
Volunteering at a hospital has its challenges, Bachmann admits, but she meets these difficulties with courage and compassion.
"Sometimes, patients ask, ‘Would you just hold me for a minute?’ When I find myself with tears, I sneak my tears away. You can’t come to a place like this with a sad face. You can’t bring your miseries here," Bachmann said.
Her efforts are appreciated, said Linda Velez, the director of volunteer services.
"We use her as a role model during volunteer orientation... She is so kind and selfless and always has a smile on her face. Martha affects everyone she interacts with and brings a glimmer of sunshine to patients, staff and visitors."
Bachmann plans to stick with her twice weekly schedule for as long as possible. "I like to keep going," Bachmann said. "I’m really blessed."
Previously: Random Acts of Flowers delivers encouragement to Stanford Hospital patients, Patient finds healing and a second home at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and “Earth angel” brings smiles to sick kids in hospital
Photo by Norbert von der Groeben