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Cheers to 35 years!

There is a lot to celebrate about Sam Oliver. She was among a handful of visionaries who founded JourneyCare four decades ago, bringing new care options to her Barrington neighbors and residents throughout the Chicago region and northern Illinois – care options that focus on compassion and quality of life for those facing serious illness.

This year, she is also celebrating a new JourneyCare milestone: 35 years as a volunteer. Sam is the longest-serving volunteer honored this year during three JourneyCare celebrations in Barrington, Chicago and Glenview, each held to honor those who give their time and talents to this nonprofit agency.

“Sam is an incredible volunteer and we have been so fortunate to have her on our team for 35 years, along with all the other ways she supports our patients and their families,” JourneyCare Volunteer Services Manager Peggy Prigge said.

Although Sam also serves on the JourneyCare Foundation Board of Trustees and supports the agency through her philanthropy, her volunteer work is dear to her heart. Here, Sam shares more about why serving those with serious illness is so important to her.

Q. Can you tell us about your beginning with JourneyCare?

A. I was invited to come and learn about the concept of hospice and just to see if there would be a possibility that we could have a hospice in our community. When I first heard about the concept of hospice, it just made so much sense to me. It was so logical that people should have choices at this part of their journey. When we merged, all three of the organizations were very community based. We all started within the community and wanted to do something very important for the members of our community.

Q. Why do you give as a philanthropist while also sharing your time as a volunteer too?

A. We have to raise money in order to make our programs viable, but it is also important to me to volunteer and to be more hands-on. I know a lot more about JourneyCare from working as a volunteer. I understand the operational side of it, but being a volunteer provides me the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.

Q. What is the best thing about being a JourneyCare volunteer?

A. The best thing is the community that you’re a part of. As a volunteer, you’re working and spending time with so many wonderful members of JourneyCare. These people are people you want to be around, they all want to make a difference in the lives of our patients and our families.

Q. What’s your favorite memory over the past 35 years of volunteering that remains in your heart?

A. It was actually something that happened fairly recently: I went on a ride along with one of our JourneyCare nurses named Julie. We went to a home where very little English was spoken, but it was it was such a good experience because I was able to see how she worked with the patient and their family despite the language barrier. I knew she was making such a difference in their lives, because they would smile and say to me “Julie good” throughout the whole visit. That is something that had stayed with me.

Q. What’s your favorite event that JourneyCare hosts each year?

A. I have three favorite events: Decades Dance, the Duck Race and Camp Courage. The Decades Dance fundraiser lets you get expressive with your costumes; I’ve been everything from a jet pilot to a hippie!

The Duck Race benefits our All About Kids pediatric program. What I enjoy is that the pediatric patients and their families have a chance to get into a pool and enjoy themselves with refreshments and games. You see the joy in their faces. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know our patients and the families together. Even though it’s a one-day event, it carries out beyond that because it means so much to the patients and their families.

Lastly, Camp Courage is so important for our families because it supports children who have lost a loved one and helps them discover healthy ways to deal with their feelings. It’s so important to me that I often travel to the final day of this five-day camp to play the flute during the memorial service held for the children to remember their loved ones. It really opens your eyes but also your heart.

Q. Is there anything that you’d like people to know or to share about volunteering with JourneyCare?

A. It’s been a privilege to be part of a movement that reaches out to so many people and makes such a difference in this part of their journey. Whether it’s a pediatric patient or someone at the end of their life, I think that’s part of the beauty of being a part of JourneyCare: those we’re helping aren’t limited to one demographic, we have such a broad reach. JourneyCare is doing something in the community that has been going on for centuries, but we are able to do it in a highly professional, wonderfully effective way.

JourneyCare extends its gratitude to nearly 900 volunteers across all the communities it serves, and it salutes those celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2019:

35 years

  • Sam Oliver

25 Years

  • Angie Battin
  • Paula Epstein
  • Steve Grossman
  • Donna Jackson

20 years

  • Barbara Berens
  • Heather Blackwell
  • Jean Foley
  • Lee Schulze
  • Becky Strupeck

15 years

  • Lynda Bollman
  • Kristin Daus
  • Mary Jo Deysach
  • Lelani Fetrow
  • Andrea Jaurigue
  • Rochelle Lichterman
  • Thomas Liebman
  • Janet Pasquesi
  • Bettina Saccone
  • Hal Stinespring

10 years

  • Myra Capitol
  • Lucia Cheng
  • Stella D’Egidio
  • Janet Evans
  • Tank Evans
  • Lisa Fortini-Campbell
  • Amy Gould
  • Catherine Howes
  • Susan Kainz
  • Joan Kellogg
  • Lorri Larson
  • Janice Moran
  • Jan Picardi
  • Arona Sarfatty
  • Margaret Thomas
  • Vicki Weisberg
  • Kristine Wszolek

5 years

  • Maria Alvarez-Varilla
  • Michelle Antonelli
  • Rochelle Atovsky
  • Grace Austin
  • Kayla Bach
  • Julie Baily
  • Joanna Bodigor
  • Joan Bone
  • Josette Carpenter
  • Shelly Casella-Dercole
  • James Chisholm
  • Margie Coffman
  • Karen Colby
  • Monica Contractor
  • Sri Contractor
  • Rachel Cook
  • Linda Copell
  • Terry Couchman
  • Cindy Diekmann-Hohoff
  • Elizabeth Duquette
  • Judith Foler
  • Kate Fuglestad
  • Shirley Glass
  • Geri Greenberg
  • Robin Greenberg
  • Catherine Hake
  • Lauren Heffernan
  • Kelly Henry
  • Lynn Hills
  • Jessica Hoffeller
  • Laura Horak
  • Bill Howes
  • Bela Igyarto
  • Tricia Johnson
  • Jennifer Kainz
  • Sandy Keever
  • Barbara Kesman
  • Andrea Klein
  • Linda Kurcab
  • Cece Lasinsky
  • Martha Lauber
  • Jim Litchfield
  • Patricia Luby
  • Jessica Lynch
  • Marge Malek
  • Anita McAuliffe
  • Cathy McClain
  • Miriam McDonagh
  • Darby McGuigan
  • Proachie Mehta
  • Chrissie Mena
  • Stephanie Metz
  • Emily Miller
  • Jamie Miller
  • Ines Milne
  • Courtney Minner
  • Elaine Mondlock
  • Alaina Murawski
  • Linda Naleway
  • Diane O’Brien
  • Linnea O’Brien
  • Patti Osswald
  • Mary Ann O’Steen
  • Nancy Palmer
  • Nikki Pals
  • Gabriela Pattison
  • August Percle
  • Dorothy Pokryfke
  • Jon Prell
  • Linda Racki
  • Nancy Raybourne
  • Rebecca Reckamp
  • Joaquin Riveramelo
  • Shay Samadi
  • Andrew Sarnowski
  • Joane Scholefield
  • Ryan Schulze
  • Heidi Shannon
  • Meg Shepstone
  • Mary Ellen Siemens
  • Mary Kay Sonnier
  • Maureen Statland
  • Ursel Thiergart
  • Tim Thompson
  • Grace Tilles
  • Virginia Trux
  • Sue Verba
  • Kaki Voss
  • Ann Wall
  • Heather Walser
  • Janette Warner
  • Janet Wheatman
  • Donna Wheeler
  • Lawrence Whitaker
  • John Williams
  • Amy Zussman