Jane Kratovil says “It is an honor to be with somebody at the end of this life,” as she describes her volunteer work at Lawrence Hospital Center in Bronxville as an 11th hour volunteer.
“You think about an obstetrician who brings life into the world. Leaving this life is pretty important. To be sharing that with someone, I think of it as an honor,” she says, explaining that she first heard about hospice at her church soon after she moved to Yonkers some 16 years ago.
“I thought I would love to be able to do that, but I didn’t think I could go and sit with people who are dying.” After Kratovil went through her own battle with breast cancer and spent a great deal of time at Gilda’s Club, she realized she had come to know many people that were very ill as they all shared their stories. She trained to become a hospice volunteer and began at Cabrini in Dobbs Ferry.
Living only a five-minute walk away from Lawrence Hospital, Kratovil switched her volunteer work there and trained to become an 11th hour hospice volunteer more than five years ago. She spends her time with the patients and their families being there to comfort as needed. Once she is assigned to a patient, Kratovil goes each day until the patient dies.
“We have wonderful relationships,”Kratovil says. “Family members love to talk too. I love hearing them tell me about the husband or the wife or the dad.”
The retired global history teacher is not new to volunteering. While living in Washington, D.C. she volunteered at the Air and Space Museum when her husband worked at NASA. She also served as director of the national HIV/AIDS school health program, but this she finds extra special.
“It has made me very fond of Lawrence Hospital. My hospice patients there are wonderfully cared for. They are so respected,” Kratovil concludes.