Volunteer Spotlight: Kelly McKnight

Apr 29, 2024 | Bereavement, News, Volunteer Spotlight, Volunteers

K.McK. Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Spotlight: Kelly McKnight

Dedicated volunteer, Kelly McKnight, began her journey with Hospice of the Northwest when her mother was facing the final stages of glioblastoma. In those challenging times, the presence of the Hospice Northwest vigil team brought solace not only to her mother, but also to Kelly. This experience ignited a powerful sense of purpose and empathy in Kelly, leading her to become an integral part of Hospice of the Northwest as a vigil and bereavement volunteer.

From the First Moment

Reflecting on her introduction as a hospice volunteer sitting vigil, Kelly shares, “It was powerful, so much love and warmth in that space. One emotion that surprised me the most was that it brought joy. It was such a privilege and honor to spend those last moments with him, to be present in the space and to embrace all the emotions.”

More than just being present, Kelly describes how she would often hold a patient’s hand, read to them from their favorite book, or simply listen as they shared stories and reflections on their life.  Her firsthand experience as a vigil volunteer has given her insights into the importance of choice and dignity in death, principles she passionately upholds in her volunteer work.

Beyond the Bedside

Kelly’s contributions extend far beyond bedside vigils. She provides volunteer companionship and respite to patients, offering a listening ear and a friendly face during a difficult time. She has assisted with writing letters during memorial events, provided respite for caregivers and companionship to patients. “I enjoy hearing about their life stories, their honest sharing of memories and regrets and lessons learned,” she reflects, highlighting the meaningful connections she has forged with patients and their families.

Adaptive Compassion

Kelly’s background in Agriculture and Vocational Counseling has equipped her with a unique perspective and valuable skills that enrich her volunteer work. “My work taught me to adapt my thinking about a situation and always ask questions to better understand where individuals were coming from,” she explains. These skills, coupled with her innate empathy and listening abilities, make her a compassionate and effective volunteer.

A Rewarding Experience

Expressing her gratitude for the hospice community, Kelly acknowledges the support and learning she has gained from her peers and the team at Hospice of the Northwest. “My whole experience has been really rewarding and emotionally fulfilling,” she shares, emphasizing the positive impact volunteering has had on her life.

Outside of her volunteer work, Kelly finds joy in spending time with her family—especially her four grandkids—and indulging in her love for water-related activities with her husband, Scott. Her involvement in various community initiatives, from supporting meals for people in need to coaching youth sports, reflects her commitment to making a difference beyond hospice care.

Kelly’s story is a testament to the profound impact volunteers can have in providing comfort, dignity, and companionship to hospice patients and their loved ones. Her unwavering dedication and compassionate approach embody the spirit of hospice care, touching the lives of patients and families with warmth and understanding.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at Hospice of the Northwest, please contact Erin Long at elong@hospicenw.org. Your compassion could make a world of difference in someone’s life!


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