I Found Hope And Recovery

For most people volunteering is an enjoyable and rewarding activity. For Terry, it's reminiscent of the fluidity between life and death.  It was volunteering at The Hope Centre that helped Terry on his journey to recovery and health.  In 2006 Terry was rushed to the hospital with extreme bleeding. During a procedure to find the cause of the bleeding Terry's heart stopped, starving his brain and body of oxygen for 12 minutes. He was airlifted to St. Michael's in Toronto for specialized treatment. When he awoke from a coma two weeks later, Terry's life was dramatically altered.  Not only was his body reluctant to tackle everyday tasks that most of us take for granted, like tying our shoes or holding a pencil, Terry had experienced death, and remembered it. Struggling to put his experience into words, Terry remembers being with his father, who had died several years earlier. "It's like when you hug someone and you close your eyes... that feeling you get," says Terry.  That feeling of comfort was the closest Terry can come to explaining how it felt to be with his father.


Terry faithfully wears a cross around his neck, a cross he feels is part of the reason why he survived his heart stopping for 12 minutes.  He comments that the experience with his father didn't change his view of the world or his philosophies on life, it simply highlighted how grateful he is to have life.  His appreciation for all that he has is also why The Hope Centre is so important to him now.  As part of his recovery plan, medical professionals recommended voluntering, as a way to reconnect socially with the broader community, rebuild his fine motor skills and regain his confidence. "I wanted to be working," says Terry, adding he needed to "ease back into life." Terry chose The Hope Centre for his first volunteer experience.


At first, his time at the centre was like occupational therapy.  Terry remembers how simple tasks like reducing portion sizes of cereal helped redefine his fine motor skills. "I was just happy to be here, doing something," he says. In time, he got his licence back, regained skills he had lost because of his illness, and grew more confident from his interactions within the community.  Now he drives a large van to pick up donations to the centre, serves and cooks food and does whatever other tasks need doing.  "I'm proud of it," says Terry of his work at the centre, adding he's made some good friends and really enjoys his work. 


"I think about what I went through. If you put yourself back there, nothing looks bad." That is the attitude Terry lives with everyday and it's one he takes with him to The Hope Centre every week.  "I get a good feeling," he says of his work there,"I know I'm making a little difference."  Terry began volunteering six years ago to improve his own recovery, now he continues to volunteer because it is important to him.  "I'll probably be doing it for the rest of my life," he states, "I'm happy doing it."


Part of Terry's success in his physical recovery and his continued desire to volunteer and help others is a result of support from The Hope Centre. That support extends to members of the community who volunteer or require the services the centre provides, whether it is a hot meal, a warm bed or the skills needed for a better life. The Hope Centre is much more than a charity. Through services and support to individuals and families who are struggling with poverty related issues, we provide hope and opportunity.