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When Aruna’s husband Kanu passed away, she knew she wanted to find a special way to honour his memory and his passion for giving back to the community. She found the answer at OTMH, where Kanu had been a volunteer.
Kanu’s was one of the friendly faces patients would see in the hallways at OTMH. He would often spend his shifts greeting patients at the main entrance. For Kanu, it was a way to give back to the community: “Kanu was always passionate about community involvement,” Aruna shares. “It was a value instilled in him early in his life by his father. Watching his father volunteering in the community at a senior’s organization, he could see the positive impact volunteers made on people and organizations. He wanted to continue the tradition.”
It was actually Kanu who encouraged Aruna to start volunteering at OTMH, and now once a week she volunteers in one of the recreational therapy groups, helping inpatients with their recovery.
Wanting to find a special way to honour her husband, Aruna dedicated a bench along Volunteer Way in his name. Now, when she volunteers every week at OTMH, she always visits “Kanu’s bench.” Although the bench is in a prime location to witness the hustle and bustle of people entering and exiting the hospital, for Aruna it’s a place of quiet reflection, where she can take a moment to be with her thoughts during her busy volunteer shifts.
“I know he would have wanted me to volunteer and donate as a way to give back to the community and honour him. Kanu was always pointing out to visitors and patients that the benches outside the main entrance were available for them to sit on while waiting for transport or to have a break outside the hospital. Kanu took so much pleasure and pride in giving back to the hospital as a volunteer – and this was my way of honouring him.”