Every Wednesday morning, Massachusetts General Hospital donor Bill Lauch, 77, walks 20 minutes to volunteer at the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation. His job as a museum docent is to share information with visitors about the hospital’s legacy and its ongoing contribution to the advancement of medicine, science and patient care.
He returns to Mass General on Thursday mornings, to volunteer in the Gray Family Waiting Area. In that role, he helps families awaiting the results of surgery on their loved ones by coordinating calls and meetings with surgeons.
As a volunteer, Bill boosts patients’ spirits, shares hospital history and helps approve research studies.
On Friday mornings, Bill is a regular volunteer at the Yawkey 8 Infusion Unit. There, he boosts patients’ spirits, serves them lunch and helps them stay calm while they receive chemotherapy for cancer.
As if all these commitments weren’t enough, twice a month he sits on one of the Mass General Institutional Review Boards. Researchers come to the board to present proposals of their medical studies and get approval to begin. The board Bill is on oversees research on drug and medical devices. His role as community member is considered vital; boards cannot meet if a community member is not present.
For 13 years, Bill has made volunteering a major part of his retirement life. Since he began his service at Mass General, he has logged more than 13,700 hours of volunteer time, placing him among a small group of very dedicated volunteers.
Volunteering at Mass General
In 2006, Bill retired from a successful career at IBM. He spent his first day of retirement at home. By day two, he knew he needed something else, so he visited the Mass General volunteer office.
For years, he and his wife Judy had good experiences with their care at Mass General. Giving back to the institution they had come to value and trust was an easy decision for Bill.
Thirteen years have passed and he is still showing up at the hospital, three mornings a week when he is not wintering in St. Augustine, Florida.
Bill sees how much patients and families appreciate a kind word and small gesture, like being offered a cup of coffee or a snack. “When people go to a hospital, it is a fearful experience,” Bill says. “As a volunteer, you can make that experience a little more pleasant.”
He looks forward to spending time with patients each week and forms friendships with many of those he helps in the chemo infusion room.
“I can see that patients are benefiting from the small part I play in their care and that makes me feel good.”
More Than Just His Time
In addition to his dedication as a volunteer, Bill is a longtime financial supporter of the mission and work of Mass General. He is a member of the MGH Fund’s 1811 Society, which is comprised of individuals who make annual gifts of $1,000 or more. The MGH Fund supports a diverse array of initiatives across the hospital by allocating funds to areas where they can have the greatest impact. Bill has also named Mass General as a beneficiary of his trust.
Bill Lauch’s investment of time, money and energy makes him one of the most dedicated longtime supporters of Mass General. An unsung hero with a huge heart, to this day he remains humble about the many ways he is contributing to the mission of the hospital.
“I can see that patients are benefiting from the small part I play in their care and that makes me feel good,” he says. “I have been lucky in life and it’s nice to give back.”