It was National Volunteer Week April 15 to 21 and we are posting this a little late but we wish to give a big shout-out to all volunteers who are making a difference in your communities. Special thanks to the many volunteers supporting our Empath Health network!
After longtime corporate work around the country, Kevin McCullough’s path turned to Suncoast Hospice, a member of Empath Health. He volunteers as a Reiki master bringing comfort and serenity to our patients and other lives in the community.
“A friend of mine was doing this and it morphed into full-time service for me. I was guided into this,” McCullough explained.
Reiki is an ancient Japanese technique in which a practitioner gently touches or holds their hands over recipients’ bodies to connect with their chakras (centers where energy flows). Many of our patients have reported feeling a sense of warmth, peace and relaxation through sessions with our Reiki volunteers.
McCullough shared, “There comes a time when they (hospice patients) need pain and anxiety relief. Hospice brings that presence. I show up and do what I can do, and if I need to spend three hours with a patient I’ll stay.”
His previous work included retail, real estate, a start-up bridal magazine and other professions. He completed our Reiki 1 and 2 trainings and became the first volunteer at our integrative medicine clinic, which was started by a former Suncoast Hospice physician who specialized in an integrative approach to care. Our unique clinic cares for hospice patients with a combination of conventional medical treatment and specialized practices, such as Reiki, acupuncture and breath work. The goal of care is to balance overall well-being – body, mind and spirit.
“That was such a great experience and gave me so much confidence to not feel intimidated by doctors. We complement what they do,” he said.
Overtime, McCullough learned more about energy work, took our aromatherapy training and became trained in the community to become a Reiki master. He now teaches our volunteers about Reiki in addition to providing sessions several days a week to improve quality of life for the very young and old at the clinic, on our care teams or at BayCare Alliant Hospital.
“I get to be in all different situations – from patients in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to 100-year-old hospice patients. I’ve had miraculous things happen on a daily basis. I’m blessed that I’ve done everything I wanted to do,” he shared.
Bring Comfort – Volunteer!