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Real Stories

Stephen’s volunteer story

Stephen has been volunteering with Redkite for 12 months, providing reflexology to the parents and families of children facing childhood cancer in hospital.

Reflexologist Stephen O’Rourke first heard about Redkite through another volunteer, who offered reflexology to children going through childhood cancer, and their families.  

“Fortunately, she kept reminding me at our annual Reflexology Conferences for a couple of years. ‘Stephen you should volunteer for Redkite.’  Eventually the time was right.”  

After completing all the training, Stephen met with Redkite Family and Wellbeing Coordinator, Audrey Morisseau at Westmead Hospital in NSW. Audrey provides support to families facing childhood cancer while in hospital, including organising wellbeing and self-care programs such as reflexology.  

“At that meeting I was captivated by the story and role of Redkite. I was inspired with an immediate connection to the Redkite mission and could not wait for my journey as a Volunteer Reflexologist at Westmead to begin.”  

Stephen has been volunteering with Redkite since May 2023, offering 45-minute reflexology sessions to families at Westmead Hospital.   

“Audrey will have clients ready for me, spread over my four hours as a Redkite volunteer.”

“The room is a special environment. There is dim lighting, an essential oil vaporiser, quiet music, and a very comfortable recliner. As soon as the client sits in the chair, they relax.”  

Stephen spends time massaging the hands, feet, ears and face of parents and carers, giving them some much-needed relaxation.  

“The primary goal of my work as a Redkite volunteer at Westmead is to give the client some special time for themselves.”

  

“You could imagine how much of the client’s life-energy is directed towards their child and the impact of carrying the emotional consequences of their diagnosis and treatment. Offering the client a different environment to that of the bedside can help them move into a different space.”  

There are many rewarding parts of volunteering as a reflexologist, says Stephen.   

Some include:   

  • A client sleeping during the treatment. Parents have difficulty sleeping while with their child.  
  • The honesty of a mother speaking during a session. Emotions can surface during a session, and I hear the pain of the person.  
  • Another mother saying, as I work on her feet, “Oh, I need this!”  
  • A grandfather commenting, “I felt like a new person. I am floating”.    

“Overall, I am humbled by the opportunity Redkite has given me to sit at the feet of these people who are carrying unimaginable concerns and emotions. Reflexology offers them a way to be at home in their own body. That is my reward.” 

Redkite are grateful to volunteers like Stephen who give back to their community, embodying the spirit of the 2024 National Volunteer Week theme: Something for Everyone.  

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