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92-year-old volunteer continues to shine light at Royal Alexandra Hospital gift shop

This spry 92-year-old woman has been at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for almost 68 years. Audrey Taylor started at the hospital in 1949 when she enrolled to the Royal Alex Nurses Program as a student.

Nursing and volunteering weren’t the only things keeping her busy — let’s not forget her seven kids that happened along the way.

“I asked to not go to the pediatrics, because I had my own pediatrics unit at home. I did, however, nurse on every other ward,” said Audrey with a sly grin.

Retiring from nursing in 1992 didn’t stop her from going to the hospital everyday. This time, it was on her own time, being a volunteer.

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Audrey’s son, Kai Taylor, is incredibly proud of her hard work and supports all of her volunteering and activities she still loves doing.

“My mom has always been a caring person, and she has always volunteered in different assets of her life. She likes to do good for people.”

Not only is Audrey busy with volunteering, but she clogs once a week, enjoys square dancing and getting together on Thursdays for coffee with her nursing friends. If that isn’t enough? She enrolled in Spanish lessons as well.

“She doesn’t let grass grow under her feet. She is always on the go,” said Kai.

Over the years the giftshop has been open, all the money spent in the shop goes right back into the hospital. Kai said because of the program, the hospital has been able to purchase some big items.

“They have bought an MRI machine, they’ve brought new furniture for the emergency room at the Alex. And there are a bunch of lounges they have outfitted with furniture.”

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Another kicker, all of the active volunteers are truly volunteering their time.

“I’m proud to say that all our executives and volunteers are not on a salary, like other gift shops and hospitals,” said Audrey.

March 2020, the gift shop closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving 140 active volunteers without a daily job. On July 5, the gift shop opened back up and Audrey was more than excited to get back.

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“I went in before they opened,” she said. “I wanted to assess the situation and I thought it was spooky. Nobody around, nobody in the halls or elevators.”

With things slowly falling back into place, that means Audrey’s volunteer schedule will as well.

“I work every Monday morning. I have worked with Doris for I don’t know how many years, but she has her section and I have mine. We just work together. Then we all congregate down at Timmy’s at different times for coffee.”

When will Audrey stop volunteering her time? If a pandemic couldn’t stop her, I don’t think anything else will.

“I love the people, I love helping the patients and the visitors, and I love restocking and seeing what can be brought in to help,” said Audrey with a smile on her face.

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