Hello my name is Donna Munro and I’m a former CCA with Northwood Homecare.
In 2012, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer. On that March day, three and a half years ago, the doctor told me I was going to die. Soon after, I went through chemotherapy and radiation, followed by numerous attempts on different medications which caused other problems and were unsuccessful. Today, I am in partial remission and I am now accustomed to living with pain every day. Throughout this journey, I have realized the importance of blocking out the pain and getting on with living life to the fullest.
Before I became ill, I worked as a CCA with Northwood Homecare for 20 years. I enjoyed my work because I loved my clients and my co-workers. I also enjoyed being president of the union at Northwood. When I got sick, I had to step down from my position as president and stop working. The union representatives asked that I stay on but I felt if I wasn’t working I couldn’t give 100% to the union and for that reason, it would be better to give the position to someone else. It was hard to walk away from the union and my clients, and hard to say goodbye to my co-workers; they are all very dedicated to their work.
When working as a CCA, I would come home late after every single shift. I always gave my clients an extra few minutes after my work was done; sometimes they just want someone to talk to and to sit with them. I believed that by giving a bit of my own time they would know that I care about them and their happiness. After all, what are a few extra minutes in life?
A couple of weeks ago my husband, Norman, ran into a man at Tim Horton’s and they got to talking. He told Norman about his aunt and the amazing home care she received that allowed her to live at home for that much longer. He expressed the way that the caregiver went the extra mile to make his aunt comfortable and happy. When Norman asked for the CCA’s name the man replied, “Donna Munroe.” It is true that the client and their families will never forget the little bit of extra time and attention you give them. That is true to life as well; when you take the time for someone, they will have time for you.
Of course not every client would be in the best mood when I would arrive to do my work. I always made it my goal to turn their day around and to leave them with a smile on their face at the end of my visit. When I had to stop working, I was afraid that I would no longer have the opportunity to reach people and to spread positivity.
As an alternate way to reach people, I began writing daily posts on my Facebook page. This began three and a half years ago, and today I continue to write and share posts every morning. My posts are centred on thoughts that come to me, people I meet or any daily experiences that are worth sharing. I incorporate things that come to my mind, good or bad, and attempt to stimulate some thought in others when they read my posts. They always end up having a positive spin, challenging people to focus on the good, to be grateful for the days they are given and to live each day to the fullest. After all, everyone needs a reminder once in a while of just how truly blessed we are to be alive.