Volunteering, Better Than a Drug
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Volunteering, Better Than a Drug

By Kelly Curtis

I’m sure it’s been said many times in many ways, but what caused a huge difference in the quality of my life was volunteer work. It gets me out of bed, gives me a reason to keep going, and makes me feel good.

In my case, it was volunteering for my Kidney Center as an Internet tutor for other patients. I’ve been on the web for several years, and there’s no better way to learn than to help and to teach what little you do know. On my dialysis days, I come early before my run and help, and then answer questions during the day, both from staff and patients. I also come into the unit on my days off.

To access information sources, I show them a few good search engines. There are also some good sources for beginning Internet classes on the net when I can’t be with them. Some of Internet “work” is pure entertainment, just to take our minds off of our particular discomforts. A busy mind helps the time pass faster. I can also keep in touch with tutors I’ve worked with and trained in other units.

By volunteering, I help people keep abreast of developments concerning their condition, including legislation, form letters, and so on. I also show them how to access and other on-line dialysis sources.

I was previously a Pharmacy worker, and I know of no drug that works as well or as quickly as volunteering. It helps me make good use of my time on the machine, and I can work all day if my energy permits. I currently work 6 days a week with others and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Permission received to post the following information:

Kelly Curtis
Cause of renal failure: Unknown
Time on dialysis: 4 years
Treatments used: In-center hemodialysis
Activities: Internet volunteer
August 30, 2001