Two volunteers who ensure Norton Hospital is always cheery and welcoming

It’s National Volunteer Week, celebrating the heart of a hospital

Norton Hospital volunteers Shirley Beanblossom and Nancy Seymour first connected under the most trying of situations, encouraging and supporting each other as their spouses struggled with major illnesses. They have since formed a friendship that benefits hundreds of patients and families each year.

“Shirley and I first met here at Norton Hospital,” Seymour said. “Both our husbands were very ill and being treated here. Shirley and I got to know each other and the hospital staff really well. Quickly, Norton Hospital began to feel like our second home.”

“Nancy and I quickly started to feel like we were sisters separated at birth,” Beanblossom said. “Our families got to know each other well, too. So we all grieved together when Nancy’s husband died. Although we were sad, Nancy and I both felt strongly that we wanted to give back to this wonderful staff and facility.”

Seymour was first to be formally involved as a volunteer, joining Norton Hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). Soon, she was asked to lead the group as chair. In that capacity, she persuaded Beanblossom to join the PFAC, too.

Once Beanblossom and Seymour officially teamed up to serve Norton Hospital patients, families and staff, their imaginations were triggered and they began to brainstorm how they might help the hospital environment become even warmer, brighter and more welcoming.

Empowered by hospital management to express their creativity, Seymour and Beanblossom began decorating their hospital and an adjacent facility for every holiday throughout each year.

As Beanblossom explains, “Because Nancy and I have made it our mission to help patients and their families feel as welcome as we did, we decorate Norton Hospital for every holiday, including Valentine’s Day, Derby, July Fourth, Thanksgiving and New Year’s.”

Soon, the compliments from hospital guests began to roll in. Many praised Nancy and Shirley for their creative designs and others expressed appreciation to Norton for enabling volunteers to instill cheerfulness throughout both facilities.

Inspired by the joy their decorations gave others, Seymour and Beanblossom decided they could do more. And they have!

For Christmas 2016, Nancy and Shirley decorated 11 Christmas trees, all with different themes and all placed in the most visible locations throughout the hospital. The response was overwhelmingly. Patients, guests and staff were so grateful for the cheer these beautiful trees brought to the hospital at that time of year.

The two also spread compassion and caring through their handcrafted get-well cards program. They work with the hospital’s teen volunteers to hand-design and personally deliver cheery messages to patients all year long.

Norton Hospital is fortunate to have these two outstanding volunteers who invest so much of their time and talents. And, as Seymour and Beanblossom found, Norton enables volunteers to contribute in meaningful, memorable ways.


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