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National Volunteer Week recognizes all that volunteers do in the community

Canadian Red Cross salutes its health equipment loan program volunteers
Ardis Chen-See volunteers at the Canadian Red Cross office in Nanaimo. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

National Volunteer Week is a reminder of the sort of programs and services that wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the community’s volunteers.

A retiree in Nanaimo says volunteering with the area Canadian Red Cross helps establish a routine for her.

Ardis Chen-See volunteers her time with the Red Cross’ Health Equipment Loan Program, which offers equipment for people recovering from sickness or injury. It includes bath boards, bath chairs, canes, crutches, intravenous poles, wheelchairs and walkers.

Chen-See, formerly a geological technician, said she saw a newspaper advertisement in 2020 that spurred her to sign up.

“I had retired recently, and wanted to have a [routine] in my day, so I applied,” she said. “The second reason was my parents are elderly and they would be needing equipment. As a matter of fact, my mother already had a wheelchair, so I wanted to know more about equipment available and how to troubleshoot them.”

Health-care practitioners refer people to the Red Cross, and then that’s where the work of the volunteers comes in.

“The practitioner has already assessed what is safe for the client, so they check off what’s needed … we find out when they’re going to pick it up and have it ready,” said Chen-See. “In the warehouse are all the wheelchairs, walkers, canes, bathroom equipment, [wheelchair cushions]. I get that ready and adjusted for their weight and height so that it’s safe.”

Chen-See is only one of many volunteers whose efforts are the lifeblood for non-profit organizations, and who are being recognized during National Volunteer Week from Sunday, April 14, until April 20.

A Canadian Red Cross spokesperson said client services, delivery, and technician volunteers are needed for the program in Nanaimo. For more information, visit or e-mail

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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