Darlynn Wosyluk-Whiting has been volunteering for Hospice of Volusia/Flagler for three years. She average 20 hours per month as a care center floor volunteer. Her official duties include helping patients fill out their menus and refilling their ice water. However, from day one, Wosyluk-Whiting felt a calling to take her volunteering to a higher level.
She began to use her highly developed people skills to fulfill patients’ needs and wishes. She befriended a homeless man who came to the care center, sitting with him for hours on end, hearing his life story, promising him she would be with him when he died. She was there the night he died, staying at the center until the early morning hours, fulfilling her promise to not let him die alone.
Wosyluk-Whiting individualizes every patient’s needs, and does whatever is necessary to bring wishes to fruition. One of the patient’s families was having a reunion in New Smyrna Beach and Wosyluk helped move the entire reunion to the care center so the patient could attend. She even created a book of the patient’s memories to be given to each family member as a souvenir. When she picks up on a wish, she sees it through to completion.
One patient wanted to record her life. Wosyluk-Whiting took notes in the patient’s room by day, and typed them on her computer at night. The results were a lovely book of memories the patient could share with her family. One patient believed her life was gifted with three miracles and Wosyluk-Whiting recorded these three separate stories, had them bound together as a book and presented it to the patient.
Each patient’s life is like a drop that radiates a ripple from within, washing over the lives of friends and relatives. When Wosyluk-Whiting so profoundly touches the lives of patients, each in a unique way, she spreads the true meaning of hospice throughout the community. She shows each family member the depth of caring a volunteer can have for any individual, by acknowledging a last wish, no matter how large or small. Wosyluk-Whiting connects on a level deeper than most people. She communicates on a place unencumbered by petty annoyances. One patient told Wosyluk she was like her granddaughter and said to her, “I’ve never loved anyone this quickly in my life.”
No one needs to ask Darlynn Wosyluk-Whiting to find a specific need of a patient; she simply does it on her own. Initially, she was hesitant about working in the care center, fearing her youth and inexperience would keep her form being a good volunteer. However, her wonderful instincts and sincere desire to make a difference in this world kept her going as she searched for a way to use her talents. She makes her own way, following her heart from door to door in the care center, taking in what needs to be met. Even though she is a busy working mother of a boy and girl, Wosyluk-Whiting spends the time she is either not working, or volunteering for her children’s school, at the care center. She has found a way to create her won unique way of volunteering by capturing the memories of her patients. By incorporating the spiritual and emotional need of patients, she has enriched their lives and the lives of their families.