Brightening patients’ lives | SummitDaily.com

Brightening patients’ lives

LORY POUNDER
summit daily news

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Summit County, CO Colorado

FRISCO ” The teenage boy laid lifeless in the hospital bed with tubes running from his nose, his eyes screaming of pain.

He had “wrapped himself around a tree snowboarding,” explained his dad who was sitting nearby in the room on the second floor of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco.

The 16-year-old looked as miserable as he probably felt, but when Doer (pronounced DOO-er) sauntered up to the side of his bed, the boy’s eyes brightened and he reached over to pet the golden retriever’s head.

“Thanks for bringing him in,” the boy told the Doer’s owner, Ron Lindblade. “He’s a nice dog.”

Doer is a seeing eye dog and a pet therapist for patients at the hospital. He wears a specially made red volunteer vest as he and Lindblade, of Dillon, make the rounds every Thursday and Sunday. They are among the volunteers who play an important role at the hospital, helping and comforting patients.

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Lindblade knows how difficult a stay in the hospital can be and wants to do what he can to ease some of the pain, he said. About 10 years ago, he lost 90 percent of his sight following surgery for an aortic aneurysm. Then, about two years ago, Doer came into his life to work as his eyes ” a job the sweet, golden dog takes very seriously.

Kim Ramey, physical therapist, said, “We love Ron and Doer. They make a big difference for the patients.”

Donald and Meredith Van Dyne and Jerry and Janie James are some of the other volunteers also making a difference.

“We have waited for this hospital for years and we have it now,” Donald said. “It is important to the community as a whole. … It is such a great asset. We no longer have to worry about going to Denver.”

It is that appreciation that inspired him and his wife to volunteer at the reception desk. Meredith added, “It’s a great family over there.”

Jerry, who is chairman of the new St. Anthony Summit Medical Center Foundation Board focused on identifying needs and fundraising, shared that sentiment. He and Janie work at the front desk as well and do what they can to help those who come in not feeling well.

“We smile, welcome them and try to put them at ease as we get them to the right department,” Jerry said, adding that they know how great it has been to have a hospital in Summit County since they’ve both been patients there.

“I really feel good about the hospital and what it means to the community. … We want to keep volunteering all we can,” Jerry said.

Make a difference!

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Anne Smith, volunteer coordinator at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, (970) 668-2895, or annesmith@centura.org. Opportunities range from working at the information desk to helping with patient care. Junior volunteers age 14 and older are welcome to volunteer in the summer.