Passing Time at the Hospital by Helping Others

Passing Time at the Hospital by Helping Others

Passing Time at the Hospital by Helping Others

Ed Cober and his wife have been coming to Grand River Hospital for more than a decade. Ed’s wife is a Kidney Care patient who regularly receives dialysis at the Hospital, a procedure that helps patients by cleaning their blood when their kidneys no longer can. Patients typically require dialysis three times every week, with each treatment lasting for about four hours—Ed and wife have been coming to Grand River Hospital on a regular basis since 2011.

About two years into accompanying his wife to dialysis, Ed decided that rather than simply wait for her during treatment, he would become a volunteer to pass the time and help others. That was nine years ago, and Ed has been volunteering at Grand River Hospital ever since.

“The first two years I spent waiting for my wife [during dialysis] helped me see the positive part of spending my time at the front desk,” said Ed, who helps patients and visitors as an Information and Portering volunteer while his wife attends dialysis. “Working makes the time go faster.”

Ed also knows firsthand how important volunteers are to the hospital experience, and he feels like he especially makes a difference for patients by “being able to listen to their stories.” As an Information and Portering volunteer, he also greets patients, families and visitors; answers their questions; and guides them to the different areas of the Hospital. Portering also helps him stay active.

Aside from helping people, one of Ed’s favourite things about being a volunteer is having the opportunity to make new friends from all walks of life. Coming together for a common purpose creates a sense of community, which is something Ed has found particularly rewarding. 

In addition to volunteering, Ed gives back to the Hospital by creating the wooden bowls that are available in the gift shop. Proceeds from gift shop purchases then go back to the Hospital to support patient care.

“I always enjoyed woodworking. I bought a lathe to turn out bowls,” Ed explained, noting that he enjoys being able to help others by supporting the gift shop.

Everyone has something to offer as a volunteer at Grand River Hospital, and if you want to get involved, we want you! Visit to find out about all the ways you can volunteer at Grand River.