Diane Martin: EveryStep Hospice Honored Volunteer

For nearly 14 years, Diane Martin has spent much of her spare time visiting those beginning their final journey.

A Farmington resident, Martin, along with more than 40 other volunteers from across the state, were recognized for their contributions at Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Iowa’s annual honored volunteer ceremony recently.  

As a volunteer for EveryStep Hospice in southeastern Iowa, Martin provides support, companionship and hope to those facing life-limiting illnesses.

She first began to think of volunteering for hospice after serving as a caregiver for her father-in-law after he was diagnosed with cancer. 

"I was the primary caregiver for him and my mother-in-law to get them to appointments and mow the yard," Martin recalls. "At that time, I started thinking, ‘I'm kind of interested in this,’ and it went from there."

Soon after, Martin saw a notice in the local paper advertising a volunteer training session for EveryStep Hospice.

"I jumped at the chance," she says. "It was in the local area that I could get to. I thought it was a good opportunity."

Since then, Martin has been visiting with EveryStep Hospice patients, mostly in nursing facilities. While the patients Martin visits aren't always responsive, she still believes her company makes a difference.

"Sometimes they are responsive, a lot of times they aren't," she says. "So I sit there. I bring along a CD and play music for them."

Martin recalled visiting one patient who she was told couldn't speak but was conscious and aware of her surroundings. 

"I put on the CD of old hymns and she mouthed the words to every hymn on that CD. That was so special," Martin says.

Martin says volunteering with EveryStep Hospice is a rewarding experience.

"It's not necessarily for the patients, a lot of times it's for their families who can't come visit on a regular basis," Martin says. "To know someone is there to sit with mom or dad or grandma or whoever. Sometimes the family appreciates it more than the patient who might not be aware of what's happening."

EveryStep Hospice is seeking more volunteers like Martin in southeast Iowa. Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact Machelle Lowe at 319-385-4472 or at mlowe@everystep.org.  Interested in volunteering in our other service areas outside of southeast Iowa? Fill out our volunteer interest form.