From first breaths to final moments: a volunteer story

Published: Friday, March 8, 2024

For Julie Dulaney Haskins, mom of four and volunteer at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC), a typical Wednesday morning begins in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit NICU (NICU) and ends on the Hospice floor. 

“I can’t bear to think about anyone feeling scared or alone,” said Julie. “When I was told about the need for volunteers, I knew I had to sign up right away.”

Julie’s volunteer journey began in the fall of 2022 after learning about the “cuddler” volunteering opportunity – a job that involves holding, rocking, and reading to babies in the NICU – through a friend.

“When I came in for my initial interview, I was asked if I would be interested in a second volunteer opportunity – for Hospice,” said Julie. “I was very hesitant at first, but realized I had to do it. I have since fallen in love with the experience!”

“Just hearing someone’s voice or holding someone’s hand can be reassuring for someone in their first or final moments of life,” said Julie.

After a few hours of cuddling babies, Julie takes the elevator to the fifth floor of the hospital to talk with hospice patients, read to them, sing to them or comfort them.

“Some patients are surrounded by loved ones, coworkers or church family. I get the privilege of hearing about their loved one’s life, and sometimes there is even laughter and happy tears!”

Between the two realms of the NICU and Hospice Inpatient Unit, Julie finds fulfillment in embracing the ordinary yet profound moments of life. 

“The thing that I love most about volunteering is that I get to be a small part of people’s lives both when they are first starting out, and then when they are leaving us,” said Julie. “And what an amazing honor that is.” 

As a result of her volunteering experience, Julie decided to enroll at the University of North Georgia to pursue a nursing career.

Julie continues to volunteer every other Wednesday at NGMC. Julie has contributed over 130 hours of volunteer service.

Learn more

Volunteering with Northeast Georgia Medical Center means bringing kindness and comfort to those that need it most. To learn more, visit the link below.