Hospital holds place in heart of veteran volunteer

When Sonia Rosso’s daughter was five she went to the Royal Children’s Hospital for what was supposed to be a routine day procedure.

The little girl ended up needing a blood transfusion and being in hospital for a week instead of a few hours.

It was the fantastic care that her daughter and the family received that made a lasting and inspiring impression on Sonia. “Everyone was so caring,” she said.

Now Sonia is a 10-year veteran volunteer of the phone room for the Good Friday Appeal. And she has enlisted the services of three sisters – Antoinette, Ines and Marina – who also volunteer in the phone room.

The RCH and the appeal have a big place in the family’s hearts. A nephew lost his eye when he was just eight months old because of a retinal detachment and through the hospital now has a hand-painted glass eye.

Sonia’s nephew Adem

“He was born with the retinal detachment, but it was only discovered through a photo taken with a flash when he was eight months old,” Sonia said.

“The only option was to remove his eye, but he has a glass eye that was hand painted by a lady at the hospital. His mother watched her doing it – it was incredible.”

Sonia and her sisters enjoy working the 6pm to midnight shift in the phone room. “It’s great fun, people are so generous, and I really like hearing their stories on the phone,” she said. 

Sonia, who was working at the RCH when she first volunteered, now works in admin at the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

She encourages anyone thinking about getting involved in the Appeal to “go for it”.

“I look forward to it every year. It comes around so quickly and goes so quickly – it’s very rewarding to be part of it.” 

Originally published November 2019
Words: Tricia Quirk

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