Page 6 - Friends Newsletter - Fall 2017
P. 6

FROM PATIENT TO VOLUNTEER:

How a brief stay at NLH inspired Janice Kulpa to serve

NLH’s more than 100 volunteers bring a variety of life experience and skills to their roles in
our community, and the motivations for their service are just as broad.

                                    For Janice Kulpa, a series of positive patient experiences at NLH moved
                                    her to volunteer.

                                    The Kulpas – Janice, husband Ron, children LeighAnn, Susanne and
                                    James – began vacationing in the Sunapee region in the late 90s, and
                                    through the years the family landed in NLH’s emergency room as a result
                                    of swimming pool accidents, allergic reactions to sunflower seeds and
                                    encounters with broken glass. It was a visit in 2014, however, that turned
                                    Janice from a patient to a volunteer.

                                    One summer evening, Janice, who’d recently recovered from a severe
                                    intestinal condition, began experiencing stomach pains. She also felt
                                    mentally overwhelmed, having endured a litany of past health problems
                                    – including autoimmune hepatitis, which once put her in grave condition.
                                    That night, Janice was admitted to NLH under the care of Drs. Brian
                                    Frenkiewich and Stephen Bissah. She also spent time with NLH Chaplain
                                    Cheryl Dean. Tests were run, x-rays were scanned. Deep, clarifying
                                    conversations were held. Through it all, Janice felt genuine compassion
                                    for both body and mind from her NLH care team.

Janice was discharged after a brief stay, but her patient    On Wednesdays and Fridays, she delivers magazines, books,
experience, along with the memories of past care at          crossword puzzles, newspapers, beverages – anything that
NLH, left a lasting impression. In 2016, Janice began        can make a patient’s hospital stay more comfortable. She
volunteering at the hospital four days a week, training      speaks with them for a few minutes to a few hours. As
in the Emergency Department with her daughter                Janice sees it, hospitality is more than distributing items –
LeighAnn, a junior at Johns Hopkins who dreams of            it’s a call to be truly present with our patients.
being a research doctor. Susanne, LeighAnn’s sister and
a nursing major at Towson, began volunteering at NLH         She has also made hospitality more creative by crocheting
in 2016, and Janice’s husband Ron recently signed up to      afghans for patients. “I’ll never forget the first afghan I
volunteer at the front desk.                                 made,” Janice says. “It was for a sweet patient who was
                                                             here for some time. She was always cold and she missed
“I wanted to give back to the hospital because they          her cat, so I made her a cat-emblazoned pillow to match
treated me so well,” says Janice. “My husband and            her lap afghan.”
I firmly believe that we should always contribute to
the communities we call ‘home,’ and we’ve raised our         Another patient received a striking grey-toned lap
children to do the same.”                                    afghan from Janice, only to have it accidentally discarded
                                                             with the laundry one day. The afghan couldn’t be found,
Janice has always been civic-minded. A retired math          so Janice whipped up another blanket in four days so
teacher, she’s served on parish councils, social committees  that it could come home with him when the patient was
and PTAs. She started a town newspaper. She’s overseen       discharged. “I power-crocheted,” she says, laughing.
the expansion of Girl Scout troops. She serves on the
board of a non-profit thrift shop. She was even once         So far Janice has distributed more than 40 afghans for
elected town treasurer. Now Janice is a hospitality cart     patients. This is Janice’s way of saying “thank you” for the
volunteer at NLH.                                            care and community the Kulpas have received at NLH.

Support NLH with a gift to our Annual Fund. (See enclosed envelope.) We value you—and your contributions!

6 | Friends NEWSLETTER | FALL 2017
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