When Syd Grolman turned 70 he had retired from work and wasn’t interested in sitting around twiddling his thumbs for the rest of his life. Already a regular blood donor and member of the local Rotary Club, he was looking for more volunteering opportunities.
Leukaemia Foundation CEO for NSW & ACT at the time, Peter Schell, was a resident in the building where Syd lived, and suggested he come on board as a volunteer driver for the Foundation’s Patient Transport Program.
And so Syd began his volunteering with the Leukaemia Foundation. He has been generously donating his time formore than 10 years now. He no longer drives patients to and from treatment, but helps the Foundation’s transport coordinator each Friday by confirming the availability of other drivers for the next week.
In 2012 he received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the community.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure for me to be associated with everyone at the Leukaemia Foundation and to work for such a wonderful cause,” said Syd.
Syd doesn’t just volunteer for the Leukaemia Foundation. He was the treasurer at Northbridge Rotary Club and is still the treasurer for Sailability in Middle Harbour. He also conducts two men’s forums at Montefiore aged care homes where he regularly plays chess with a 92 year-old Holocaust survivor, allowing him to have someone to talk to.
“During my time at the Leukaemia Foundation I’ve driven many patients – young children to older people. We try not to get too involved with them but when you’re driving someone regularly, they want to talk and it’s my job to listen,” said Syd.
“One lady I used to drive each week asked if I could stop at a café so she could get a sandwich for her lunch. When she came back she had a sandwich for me too. The patients are so grateful, they really are. It’s a wonderful thing to do.”
“If you want to do good in this world, volunteering is a wonderful way to start. It’s very rewarding and I think it’s absolutely fantastic. The only way you’ll get me to stop is if I’m in a wheelchair and physically unable to go on. I’ll be around for a while still."
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