Bothwell Auxiliary volunteers offer support, fundraising for hospital

The Bothwell Auxiliary began in 1971 by a group of determined and tenacious women, many of them wives of doctors at the hospital. The goal then was to be a light for patients, visitors and staff at Bothwell.

The purpose of the Auxiliary today is to enhance the quality of care and support provided by hospital staff, ensuring patients and their families receive the best possible experience during their time of need. Members provide patient and administrative support, community outreach, fundraising and more.

Karen Kay Taylor, Bothwell Auxiliary president, believes the change the organization makes in people’s lives is impactful.

“Sometimes all one needs is a welcoming smile, an ear to listen and a gentle hand to hold,” Taylor said. “It’s quite simple. Volunteers do what they do because they care. We all help each other and have a lot of fun doing it.”

Members of the Auxiliary support the hospital in a variety of ways. Volunteers can be found serving in the Gift Shop, the Susan O’Brien Fischer Cancer Center, helping patients with exercises after knee or hip replacement surgery and at the front desk in the hospital lobby. When needed, they also volunteer in the Education Center, Human Resources and the Marketing department.

As Bothwell continues to grow and change, so must its Auxiliary team. There are currently 65 volunteers ranging in ages from 36-96. The team is always looking to expand so they can provide even better care for members of the community.

“We love people and it makes us feel like, in some small way, we are making a difference to someone, somewhere,” Taylor said. “Volunteering is not a job, it’s a calling. I believe that by volunteering we support people and provide comfort and encouragement to those who need it. We bring hope and strength when it seems like there is no place to go. We are a light in the dark and a calm place during a storm.”

Not only do Auxiliary members give their time, they also host numerous fundraisers throughout the year that provide financial support to Bothwell. Ranging from scrubs, shoes and book sales to the annual Bothwell Auxiliary Ice Cream Social, money is raised for hospital needs. In the past, the Auxiliary has been a part of funding the cost of a 3-D mammography machine and other specialized equipment, and they recently contributed $20,000 to the purchase of the K9 Officer for the Security team. In addition, each year they offer $2,500 scholarships to students pursuing health care programs to assist with their education costs.

The work provided within Bothwell’s buildings is notable and appreciated, yet the support doesn’t stop there. Taylor said community outreach is just as important to members of the Bothwell Auxiliary.

“During COVID-19, 12 Auxiliary members volunteered a collective 429 hours at the vaccination clinics at the fairgrounds,” she said. “The pandemic affected each one of us and was something many of us had never experienced before. Working this community-wide event solidified our resolve to help people, anywhere and anytime we could. The volunteers talked with people, listened to their stories, laughed with them and, when the music was extremely good, we danced with them. They may have entered the building with apprehension, but most of them left with a smile on their face.”

People interested in joining the Bothwell Auxiliary as a volunteer can pick up a volunteer application from the Gift Shop on the hospital’s first floor. For additional questions, contact the Bothwell Regional Health Center Volunteer Coordinator at 660.829.8855.