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Content provided by Samaritan Health Services Lifelong volunteer regains mobility after joint replacement “I was visiting a friend in Vermont, and we went to a party where there were a lot of 1960s Peace Corps volunteers, and I remember just asking ‘well what’s the age limit?’” As it turns out, there simply isn’t one. Alice Carter has never been one to idly sit by without a volunteer project up her sleeve, so when she announced to her six children that she’d joined the Peace Corps at the age of 86, surprise wasn’t their first reaction. “My kids thought for sure the Peace Corps would let me join, but would never send me away at my age,” Carter said with laughter. “They said ‘sure, Mom, join the Peace Corps so you can say you did.’” “My little granddaughter just kept saying ‘No Peace Corps! No Peace Corps!’” But shortly after she joined the Peace Corps, she was invited to join a team of volunteers for a two-year mission in Morocco. Before she headed to Africa, Carter packed up all of her belongings and shipped them from Boston, Massachusetts, for storage in Corvallis, Oregon, where one of her children lived and she planned to retire after her mission. “I’d visited Corvallis a handful of times and just knew there was no better place to retire when I was done adventuring,” said Carter. Once in Morocco, Carter was welcomed by a host family and began a three-month training alongside 100 Peace Corps team members. “We were welcomed with open arms,” she recalled. “My host family insisted they cook for me, taught me about the local community and treated me as family.” As Carter became acclimated to the Moroccan culture and her role as an educator, she did her best to keep up with a variety of activities. Her fellow volunteers encouraged her to join them on sightseeing adventures, and her active students kept her busy teaching everything from American and Moroccan history to creative writing and conflict resolution. “One day, I asked them ‘would you like to climb Mount Toubkal?’” she recalled. “Of course they all did — it’s 13,000 feet plus a few more — so we gathered and began training for the climb by going on hikes every Sunday.” As Carter taught her group of 60 kids about leadership, cooperation and community, she noticed it became increasingly difficult to keep up with the adventures. So when it came time for the great climb, she had to watch her students tackle the mountain from the sideline. “My Peace Corps doctor begged me to go home and have my hip fixed, but I just wouldn’t,” she recalled. Despite her lack of mobility and extreme pain, Carter was unwilling to give up and completed her mission in Morocco. Once home, her condition worsened to where she could only sleep in a recliner chair. She immediately began looking into getting her hip fixed. study medical respite facilities for the homeless population. “I wanted to be top notch before traveling to Boston,” said Carter, who plans to bring her learnings back to Corvallis to continue her work locally. “My new joints give me the ability to work better for my community.” “I’m looking forward to being the bionic woman — I’ll be able to roller skate!” she laughed. Learn more about Alice Carters’s story at samhealth.org/AliceC. Then in March 2019, at the age of 90, Carter enlisted the help of James Ryan, MD, who replaced her hip at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. “They did a beautiful job. It was great to find myself in a quiet, private room and I loved the staff,” said Carter. After one night in the hospital, Carter returned to her home in Corvallis to focus on healing and planning her next endeavor. “My life isn’t about what’s happened to me medically, it’s about the work I’m doing for the homeless, for my church,” she explained as she pulled blueprints for her next community project from a corner desk in her home. Carter returned to Samaritan Albany General Hospital for a knee replacement under Dr. Ryan’s care in November 2019. Now recovered and ready for adventure, she recently traveled to Boston to Above: After both a hip and knee replacement, Alice Carter is finding purpose in volunteerism in her community. Hospital volunteering a win-win for hospitals, patients and volunteers alike Looking for a volunteer opportunity in 2020? Maybe you’re interested in a way to get involved in health care without any medical training needed? Samaritan’s hospitals in Albany, Corvallis and Lebanon invite you to join their volunteer corps. Livinghealthy Community classes to keep you healthy Volunteer opportunities at this time include: Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Corvallis: • Wayfinder shifts at Patient Registration • Several other positions throughout the hospital Samaritan has a variety of opportunities at its hospitals for Samaritan Albany General Hospital teenagers and adults, ranging from • Shifts at the hospital gift shop espresso barista to gift shop clerk to • Greeter shifts at the main patient greeter. Each position gives information desk, Emergency volunteers the chance to impact Department and Outpatient patients and visitors, and several Surgery Center positions help the hospital auxiliaries Samaritan Lebanon Community raise funds for patient care services. Hospital Time commitment can start as little as • Greeter shifts at the main a few hours a week delivering mail. information desk “When you volunteer at your local • Ambassador shifts, helping hospital, you have the opportunity to patients and visitors find their help patients who might be destination in the hospital going through a difficult time,” • Floral arrangement shifts said Nichole Chamberlain, volunteer For more information, visit services coordinator for Samaritan samhealth.org/Volunteer. Albany General Hospital. “You have the chance to build long-lasting Below: Aaron Streblow and James Cannon, Good Samaritan Regional relationships with other volunteers Medical Center volunteers and staff.” Discover weight management options Struggling after childbirth? You’re not alone. Join us for a free seminar and learn about weight loss surgery, the steps involved, program benefits, insurance coverage and more. Separate seminars on Jan. 15 and 21, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Registration: SamaritanStories.com or 541-768-4280 Get the support you need at Hope for Mothers, a support group available in Albany and Lebanon for moms struggling with postpartum depression. Thursdays, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Information: 541-812-4475 Take the first steps to manage pain Find support while grieving Join a free six-week program to help you learn tools to manage your pain. Starts Jan. 23 in Albany and Jan. 28 in Corvallis. Registration: SHSHealthEd@samhealth.org or 866-243-7747 Get heart-smart with a free screening Check your cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose at this free screening. You will receive a copy of your results so you can follow up with your primary care provider. Eight hours of fasting is required. Feb. 8 at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Feb. 15 at Samaritan Albany General Hospital or Feb. 22 at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. Schedule an appointment: 855-543-2780. Get ready for your new child Samaritan offers tours of hospital birth centers, counseling with maternity care coordinators and classes to prepare you for childbirth, breastfeeding and helping your kids get ready for their new sibling. Information: samhealth.org/Baby If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, Samaritan Evergreen Hospice offers free grief support groups in Albany and Lebanon for adults. Each group meets twice a month. Information and meeting schedules: 541-812-4680 Know the signs of a stroke Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and what to do if you think a stroke is happening, at a free seminar. Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital and Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. at Samaritan Albany General Hospital.Registration: samhealth.org/BeHealthy or 855-873-0647. Visit samhealth.org/Classes for a complete list of classes and support groups in your community.