Our volunteer chaplain, Ken, has given us his story to add to our collection. This is his account of how he came to Mildmay:
"It was back in 2016 that I first came into contact with Mildmay hospital at a volunteer exhibition in London. I was looking for homeless volunteer work and I noticed the volunteer site for Mildmay; the HIV /AIDS red ribbon. This made me think of the issues regarding the stigma around HIV/AIDS in South Africa in the 1990s. I recall the difficulty with the workforce in the mines where HIV/AIDS had a huge impact and still does to this day. So out of curiosity, I decided to have a chat with the volunteer coordinator whose name was Dominic at that time.
Whilst talking to Dominic, what caught my attention, for some reason, was that HRH Diana had made the first big impact on reducing the stigma of HIV/AIDS by visiting Mildmay, and I recall it being on TV in South Africa. So, as I admired HRH Diana as being a tough, strong and independent individual, I thought why not give it a try and start befriending those who were at Mildmay. So, I started to attend Mildmay on Saturdays, every weekend. It was really just talking to patients, taking them for coffee, or a walk. Getting to know each person individually, seeing how they progressed and how the nurses made them well enough to leave healthy. That’s how it continued until 2020.
When the COVID-19 restrictions came into force, I used to come in twice a week to work in the kitchen with Obie, where great food and laughter were had. Then I met Sister Bernie, and for some unknown reason not of this world I joined her Chaplaincy team.
What I have come to realise is that the work Mildmay does is second to nothing with caring and compassion for others who are vulnerable, and weak. The nurses are just special people, patient, and honestly, so kind. Not many - if none could do what they do!
The chaplaincy team is extraordinary, as it is Christian-based and the Chaplains under Sister Bernie are always there for anyone at Mildmay. Mildmay not only helps those with HIV/AIDS but those who are homeless and require rehabilitation care. So it takes special human beings to work at Mildmay. Mildmay is still the best charitable hospital in the EU for HIV/AIDS rehabilitation, and now its work continues with the homeless.
Still enjoying Mildmay and long may it continue."