Chaplains “re-route” hospital patients to the hope

Ruth McCabe says her darkest days would have been even darker were it not for a woman named Noelene Kidd.

Noelene, a Carinity chaplain, was by Ruth’s bedside when she spent two months in hospital fighting a rare form of cancer.

“I wasn’t supposed to live through the cancer, so the doctors were trying to keep me hopeful but being realistic at the same time. Because it was such a rare form of cancer there’s no support group for it and those who get it generally don’t live too long,” Ruth says.

“My four children and my parents were stressed, my husband was stressed, everybody was stressed. Noelene was the calm in the storm. She was great to talk to.

“You get so sick of people prodding you and poking you and doing medical types of things and with the psychologist the same thing happens, they’re evaluating your answers. It was nice to have someone just to sit and talk with someone who ‘gets it’.

“My time in hospital was pretty dark but I think it could have been much darker without Noelene being there. There were days when I was, ‘If I’m going to die anyway, let’s get it over and done with’, but she kept re-routing me to the hope.”

Jennifer is a strong believer in the old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved.”

After suffering from general health problems for many years, Jennifer was hospitalised last year after suffering multiple fractures in her spine from slipping over in her home.

Bedridden in hospital for several months, Jennifer struggled with depression and anxiety both before and during her recovery.

Compounding her insecurities and vulnerability, Jennifer had no family to support her during the toughest time of her life. That was until a Carinity chaplain struck up a conversation.

“She was visiting people in the ward and one day she came to chat to me. It was nice because I don’t have family, my family have passed away,” Jennifer says.

“When you’re in the hospital and you see everyone else with their families coming in to visit, and you don’t have that, it’s hard. It was nice to have someone to talk to, someone who was kind and caring. It makes you feel not so alone.

“Being lonely and feeling isolated it made me anxious. I had depression and having that sounding board was a great help. I really appreciated her visits and her mental support meant a lot.”

Carinity has around 60 chaplains serving multi-denominationally in hospitals, correctional centres and aged-care communities from Cairns to the Gold Coast. We seek extra chaplains to meet an increasing demand to support and assist more Queenslanders facing challenges.

Donations to last year’s Chaplains Appeal enabled Carinity to train more chaplains through our new Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care.

Recent course graduate Hadley Toweel, a former Christian worker in a ghetto area in South Africa, is now a Carinity prison chaplain.

“Chaplaincy is something that God has called me to. It’s the knowledge that I have done things in my past that could have landed me in prison and being fully convinced that God can and does change lives,” Hadley says.

Ruth encourages people to support the hospital chaplains who bring comfort to patients, by offering a listening ear or spiritual guidance, through the 2018 Carinity Chaplains Appeal.

“One day I was running my kids to and from school and sports and the next thing I’m bedridden for weeks on end. You don’t know when you’re going to need that support, and it could be the difference in someone’s life,” she says.

Help make a real difference to the lives of people in need by supporting the 2018 Chaplains Appeal, to enable Carinity to train more chaplains throughout Queensland. Your gift can be made online , via mail at Reply Paid 85096, Mitchelton QLD 4053, or by phoning 07 3550 3737.

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