Volunteer Story – Edward Passalugo

“Volunteering is an act of heroism on a grand scale. And it matters profoundly. It does more than help people beat the odds; it changes the odds.” – William J. Clinton

Shortly after retiring in September 2017, Edward Passalugo woke up confused and was struggling to see out of his left eye.

Luckily, his wife called their neighbor who is a physician. He rushed over to evaluate Ed and recommended they immediately go to Ascension Providence to ensure Ed received the best stroke and heart care.

Ed and his wife rushed to Ascension Providence where Ed was immediately triaged by the emergency department. An MRI revealed that Ed had had a stroke. Thanks to everyone’s quick and attentive work, Ed was discharged from the hospital three days later.

During his time in the hospital, Ed witnessed and received not only the exceptional and holistic care of the Ascension Providence caregivers, but also the work and care of Ascension Providence volunteers. After recovering from his first stroke, Ed introduced himself to the Ascension Providence volunteer coordinator and began volunteering in December 2017.

Ed’s volunteering with Ascension Providence began with patients and families of patients having open heart surgery. Ed would meet patients and their families at the hospital at 6am and would guide them through the day – praying with patients before their surgeries, sitting with families in the waiting area and tending to their needs, whether that be updates on how the surgery was going or getting them snacks and drinks.

When COVID-19 hit, volunteer shifts were canceled to reduce the number of people in the hospital, but volunteers like Ed never stopped helping. They came together to donate drinks and snacks to raise the spirits of caregivers. Ed was eager to get back to volunteering with patients and staff, especially the patients and staff on 4 North where Edchecked in on patients, ensured equipment and supplies were well-stocked, assisted nurses, patient care techs, and housekeeping with anything they needed.

One of Ed’s most rewarding experiences so far as a volunteer at Ascension Providence was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). An infant in the NICU was experiencing withdrawals after being born to a mother suffering from substance abuse. To bring the infant comfort, a volunteer was needed to hold and rock the baby. “What a rewarding feeling that was to see a new life,” said Ed.

Volunteering has given Ed a sense of purpose after retiring, expanded his circle of friends, and has helped him get out of his comfort zone.

Volunteers like Ed are so crucial to provide comfort to the patients and families we care for at Ascension Providence. Without volunteers, the world-class, holistic care provided to everyone who walks through our doors would not be possible.