Woman dedicates her life to helping others

October 19, 2009 3:32:21 PM PDT
For 50 years, Fern Lewis has been a volunteer at a northwest suburban hospital. At the age of 93, she's still helping the hospital and its patients. Once a week Lewis drives from Bensenville to volunteer in the public relations office at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.

"My eyes are always glued to who is around me that needs a wheel chair brought to them or a walker," Lewis said.

"She is amazing, an inspiration to all of us. She smiles and everybody smiles back," said Magda Scanlan, manager of volunteer services.

In the fifties, Lewis and other past board members of the Hospital Service League worked to raise money to build the rehabilitation center and helped the hospital to grow and expand.

"My husband and I went out and solicited donations," Lewis said.

Lewis, a widow for over 10 years, spent 45 of her 50 volunteering years working in the surgical unit of the hospital helping doctors and families cope.

"I don't feel like I even get tired doing it. When I first started I worked from morning until the last person had surgery," Lewis said.

The hospital staff says every Monday morning, rain, shine or snow, Lewis makes the 12-mile drive to the hospital in her 1991 Mercury Gran Marquis.

"I almost talk myself out of the snow. It cannot be so bad. I will try, but I always make it," she said.

The hospital even gave Lewis her own parking space a week ago.

"They gave me a parking space. I was so thrilled, the tears just welled up in my eyes," Lewis said.

"She is so humble. She does not think she is special, but she truly is," Scanlan said.

Lewis loves to party and dress up for special occasions, such as a green outfit for Irish Fest. She travels all over the country visiting her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Nothing stops her.

"I can't believe it has been 50 years. I really just enjoy life, really," Lewis said.

Lewis will be 94 in May.

So far, she has over 13,000 hours of volunteering time at the hospital and says she will continue to volunteer as long as she is able to pass her driving exam and drive to the hospital.


Load Comments