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A life full of giving

Toni makes weekly visits to several residents of aged care homes, calls isolated people living alone and she's made more than 460 donations to the Red Cross Blood Service.

Toni, one of our Red Cross volunteers
Toni Russell is one of our many everyday hero volunteers. She volunteers to visit isolated elderly people in aged care homes, including May Wilson (pictured with Toni).

Toni has been quietly achieving what many people would only dream of.

She makes weekly visits to several residents of aged care homes, calls isolated people living alone and she's made more than 460 donations to the Red Cross Blood Service. Toni also donates her plasma.

"The word bored is not in my vocabulary," she says.

"I always said that when I stopped working I'd try and do something in the community, and do some voluntary work," she says with masterful understatement.

Toni says she grew up in a Red Cross family. Her father was a blood donor, her mother drove for Red Cross delivering blood to country centres from Adelaide in the 1950s, and her granddaughter donates blood.

You can bring a little bit of joy and pleasure to people who perhaps don't have a lot of visitors.

Toni's first volunteer duties begin at 7am each day making a string of phone calls. She rings a list of isolated and elderly people who are living alone, with a friendly check-in that they are OK. If the calls go unanswered she rings the Red Cross Telecross office immediately where they activate a process to verify their safety and wellbeing.

She also makes weekly visits to two women living in aged care homes. This involves spending time with them, chatting, going for walks, and making them feel generally more connected to the community.

She herself is very connected to her community, as an active member of a number of committees and Red Cross groups.

"I just hope that as a Red Cross volunteer you can bring a little bit of joy and pleasure to people who perhaps don't have a lot of visitors," she says.

"I find volunteering very gratifying. There are a lot of lonely people in the community."

Volunteer

It'll change your life. And someone else's.

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