Meet Ellie Jeppesen, mother, grandmother, widow, friend and volunteer at Orange Coast Medical Center’s Center for Childbirth.
Ellie proudly wears her blue and white Hawaiian print uniform as she greets moms and dads-to-be every Tuesday and Friday as they navigate their journey to becoming new parents, Ellie welcomes them, calms frazzled nerves, soothes fears and encourages deep breaths. She has been there and she understands.
"I love the interaction with people, seeing the smiles and the happiness.”
One of Ellie’s jobs is bringing bathrobes to the new moms and serving punch to the parents, guests and family members to celebrate this miracle of life. “You can just feel the love in those rooms. The look on those fathers’ faces, they just light up with pride and I get to share this as they start a new journey called life!”
Ellie’s path to becoming a volunteer at Orange Coast was a journey itself. After virtually living at Orange Coast Medical Center for four years as her beloved husband, Walter, fought a debilitating disease, Walter lost his battle. Faced with terrible sadness, Ellie fell into what she calls “hibernation,” isolating herself from the outside world. “Too often seniors hibernate after the loss of a loved one. I am honored to share my story to help them,” says Ellie.
“You have to push yourself to make the change. Is it easy? Absolutely not. I had no intentions of becoming a volunteer. Volunteering found me!”
Ellie, also a patient, was working with physical therapist Karen in outpatient rehab. Karen encouraged Ellie at every appointment to call and ask to the speak with the volunteer coordinator. Ellie kept saying no, that it wasn’t for her, until her daughter finally encouraged her to check it out. She called on a Friday, interviewed on the following Tuesday and the rest is history. Soon Ellie was whisking nervous couples through the doors at the Center for Childbirth and she never looked back.
“I don’t work at Orange Coast Medical Center…I give of myself to help others, but they give more to me than I give to them,” said Ellie.
Ellie has turned her most challenging days into moments of joy for others. She takes the time to do little things for the new parents and is always punctual, if not early, for her shift. “I come to Orange Coast Medical Center and I take home so much kindness and caring that it lifts my spirits and gives me the feeling of purpose. Mickey has nothing on me, I am at the happiest place on earth in Maternity!”
We thank Ellie for all she does for Orange Coast Medical Center and for her generosity!
Since she started volunteering at Orange Coast Medical Center, Ellie Jeppesen has contributed 480 hours of her time. According to Independent Sector research, the value of a volunteer is $26.87/hour. Last year, Orange Coast Medical Center’s dedicated volunteers donated 20,205 volunteer hours, the equivalent of $542,908.
For more information on how you can make a difference by giving your time to Orange Coast Medical Center, contact Jennifer O’Hair, Volunteer & Concierge Services Supervisor, at [email protected] or call (714) 378-7749.