Volunteer Spotlight: Julia Hunt
Author: Chloe Jackson, West Volunteer Coordinator
Pictured below: Julia Hunt (right) and her friend
Nearly 30 years ago, Julia Hunt’s stepfather was admitted to a hospice in Kentucky. At the time, Julia was involved in other volunteer work, but her stepdad and mother’s experience helped her realize end-of-life care was where she wanted to devote her time. Julia volunteered at another hospice for over 20 years before finding Four Seasons five and a half years ago. At Four Seasons, she visits hospice patients and their loved ones in homes and assisted living facilities in Swain County. She provides companionship to patients, respite to caregivers, and helps run errands when needed. She also serves as an “11th-hour volunteer” and sits with people who might otherwise die alone in their final hours.
Julia’s presence has been recognized by staff and families as compassionate and kind, but Julia says the opportunity to be with people at the end of their lives is a great privilege filled with many memorable moments. Most recently, on a visit to a nursing home, a patient who enjoyed coloring gifted Julia a picture she drew and said, “I want you to have something to remember me by.” Julia walks away from her visits with memories like this often.
Her time serving people at the end of life has helped Julia have less fear and more acceptance of death and dying, which is something she hopes others can experience as well. She also wishes people were admitted to hospice sooner so they can receive all the care hospice has to offer in their final months of life. Volunteers, for example, can help patients and their loved ones get the support they need when they don’t have a network of family and friends nearby.
Julia appreciates the consistency of communication and follow-through from Four Seasons staff and values the ongoing addition of volunteer opportunities that enhance the patient and family experience in the West region. Community needs in rural counties like Swain differ from those of urban areas, and volunteers like Julia help ensure that patients across western North Carolina – from Buncombe County to Bryson City – receive compassionate end-of-life care.
Thank you, Julia, for the amazing care and compassion you bring to Four Seasons to share with our patients and families!