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Apr 30 2002

Take time to volunteer

 Categories:  Fondly, Carolyn Comments:   1 comment  Print Friendly Version  |   Share this item
Dear W:

As I write you this month, Charlotte is blanketed with seven or eight inches of lovely snow. It brightens and softens everything, and even the sky is a muted pastel. The roads are tricky though, and my little truck could not pull the hill on my long country driveway. Pantyhose just don't make it in this kind of weather, so after changing, I have been trudging back and forth unloading the groceries I just had to pick up on my way home! I know you don't get any snow where you live, and by the time you receive this letter, it will be February and our snow, too, will be long gone. February has always seemed sad to me somehow, and I am glad every year when it is over. The best ways I know to get through it are to get away for a few days to someplace warm and colorful and to do something to help others.

The latter is what I wanted to talk with you about this month, W, as you look toward a career in medicine. Volunteering has been a long tradition in medicine but is sometimes forgotten or omitted as our lives and practices get busier. Although physicians have been financially and emotionally injured by managed care, litigation, and legislation, most of us are still much more fortunate than average. Christian, Jewish, and Islamic teachings all require that one donate time and resources to help others in our communities. It is just the right thing to do. Volunteering is also good for "public relations" for you and your practice as you meet, labor with, and enjoy the company of people in other fields. Lastly, volunteering is good for you as a person; it brightens and softens your outlook, much as the snow has done for our city this week.

Last weekend, I traveled with friends to a bed-and-breakfast in North Carolina's beautiful mountains. We ate breakfast with a neuropsychology doctoral student who was seeking a historical figure to psychoanalyze for her dissertation. She had started with Mother Theresa but later concluded that "you cannot analyze Mother Theresa; she was a saint." That may be true, but I think there is a little of Mother Theresa, or what drove her, in each of us. In other words, we have both a moral obligation and a personal need to volunteer.

There are many opportunities for volunteers in every community. The most obvious one for medical volunteers in Charlotte is our Shelter Medical Clinic, which, sadly, has had to cut its hours by 50 percent recently due to lack of physician involvement. Our Mecklenburg County Medical Society is going to offer pins as a token of appreciation and recognition of physicians and their spouses who volunteer, although the real reward, of course, is not a little pin but internal.

I mentioned last month that physicians must "take time to comfort," and to that I would now add that we must also "take time to volunteer." Have a great month, W, and say hello to your family for me.


 Comments on this article:

Dr. Hart,

We long for your presence in Charlotte. Jackson is still alive! YES! And happier than ever since introduction of CBD. He has seizure-free weeks now. Weeeeks, Doctor!

It’s a scary time for us. It’s like you described the snow toting groceries: all looks peaceful until you’re uphill.

I wish I could relay to you how high a pedestal you built. Wallace is the closest we ever got to your time, skill, listening capacity leading to your ability to explain. I hope to reverberate for years to come my appreciation for your ability to instill in me, this one mother, confidence in my own. Not just my own data…my own son. I will never forget you answering my life expectancy question with something along the lines of, “he surprises us all…don’t expect anything. He’s a rule-breaker. I don’t know any more than you, and I’d be curious how you’d answer.” I don’t think we’d be looking at 21 if you hadn’t believed in me. It was tough. Really tough.  Thank you for believing in the surprise we both would become. You were right.

We are lobbying (without dirty money) for legal cannabinoid therapy, but more effectively we are teaching the community about the very valid science behind the ECS. I wish we had been able to invite you to his many events, or told you he’d make national news. Surprise! Jackson is a teacher. A non-verbal genius, clever in his charm and spunk, handsomer with his google-eyed half-grin than ever, charming the socks off of physicians who never knew they created their own 2-AG. God, dang….bless our Hart for her foundation upon a lovely blend of science and compassion.

Most sincerely and respectfully,
Kelly and Jackson Helms (AKA West)

By Kelly and Jackson on Mar 21, 2019 at 2:20am
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