The Giving Spirit Just Comes NaturallyRandom acts of kindness, like smiling at a stranger or helping someone with their groceries, are simple things Pat Simpson encourages everyone to do.
“Help someone other than yourself,” she says. “It’s a blessing.”
The retired surgical technologist makes sure to complete at least one act of kindness every day. However, the volunteer extraordinaire contributes even more to the community and sometimes works longer hours than people who have full-time jobs.
Simpson spends most of her free time each week caring for people who are terminally ill.
“People who invite me into their homes on the very, very private part of the last part of their lives, that’s special, that makes me feel special,” says the Kaua’i Hospice and Share the Care volunteer. “And if I can bring a little light into their lives, that’s the reward for me.”
After retiring from her job at Wilcox Memorial Hospital more than two years ago, Simpson wasn’t quite sure how to spend the 60 hours a week she once filled with work, so she trained to volunteer for Kaua’i Hospice. The experience led her to expand her service to Share the Care – a program designed to assist the caregivers of those who are terminally ill.
Simpson fondly remembers caring for a patient in recent months who was in an advanced stage of cancer.
“She had so many stories to tell,” says Simpson, who loves to listen to the memories of the people she assists.
It was because of the attention by Simpson as well as other selfless volunteers that this person was able to live months longer than her initial prognosis.
“That’s just by loving care,” says Simpson, who stayed with her overnight twice a week.
A resident of Sun Village, Simpson also is responsive to the needs of her elderly neighbors. She recently set up a Share the Care movement in the Lihu’e community.
Inspired by a concern that arose in recent months when the elevators were replaced, Simpson made sure that residents on the upper floors had help getting to their apartments. Through the program, she continues to help by arranging rides to doctor’s appointments or picking up medications.
“A lot of those people are living by themselves,” explains Simpson.
Simple acts of kindness like helping people who are physically unable to do things on their own makes the quality of every-one’s lives better.
Simpson has enjoyed the giving spirit that pervades Kaua’i ever since she moved to the Garden Isle about eight years ago from Portland, Ore. Originally from Wisconsin, Simpson visited the island prior to her move.
“I almost didn’t go home,” she says. “I was in paradise – it’s beautiful.”
Lucky for the island, Simpson eventually made Kaua’i home, bringing her altruism with her.
“It’s always been in my heart to help others,” says Simpson, who grew up in a family of eight and always was available to anyone who needed assistance.
Not only does she currently assist the terminally ill, she also lends a hand to Kapa’a Soup Kitchen and routinely visits Mahelona Hospital, bringing hymn-singing to the patients. Simpson even finds time to tutor a Kapa’a Elementary School student once a week.
“The need on this island is so great, if you just open up your eyes and ask if people need help,” she says. “If I can get more people to do that, my job would be easier, and it also gives a feeling of love all over the island.”