February Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Stabile
For our February Volunteer Spotlight, we are delighted to recognize Mary Stabile of Bordentown, New Jersey. Mary is an extremely dedicated volunteer for NPAF, having volunteered with us over 15 years. She is a part of our Advisory Group of volunteers and is heavily involved in state and local health care coalitions, such as NJ for Health Care and the Hunterdon-Mercer Chronic Disease Coalition. Mary often uses her voice and lived experience to engage with policy makers to improve health care. She also works tirelessly to help meet the unmet needs of people in her community, and even runs her own non-profit organization, Living For A Cause. Read on to learn more about Mary’s volunteerism for NPAF.
Describe the advocacy work that you’re doing in your community and what motivated you to start.
Over the last year as COVID-19 has come to test us in our lives, my advocacy work has taken on a new perspective. Community needs changed and, with that, innovation became the new face of advocacy. There were many people, including patients and the elderly, who needed help, advice, even just a phone call to see how they are doing and to give reassurance to those living alone. I spent time on the phone arranging meals to be delivered, groceries and pet food to those who could not go out at the beginning of the pandemic. Helping folks understand how to do a zoom call/video call with their doctor gave them much needed comfort. These challenges forced me to update my advocacy skills so that I could better connect to the heart of my community. Facebook proved helpful as I joined local community groups where people posted the help they were looking for. I stayed updated on legislative issues by participating in webinars, zoom meetings and through emails with the members of several coalitions and I sent letters to my legislators via action alerts. I find the more we learn, the more we can share and benefit as a community. What motivated me and what keeps me motivated is simply my love and heart for those who need a helping hand. I know all too well the comfort of having a helping hand to hold during the worst of times, and so I volunteer to be that support to those in need.
What advice would you give to other volunteers who would like to do something similar?
As volunteers, we each have a talent, a gift of caring, compassion and a love for the betterment of humanity. Once that knowing touches your heart, you as volunteers will be directed to your own personal calling. My advice would be to meet as many other like-minded people you can, participate in as many trainings, online courses, advocacy groups, and open your mind and your heart to all those who cross your path. The rest will surely follow.
Since you’ve been a volunteer with NPAF, what are some of the things you are most proud of?
I am most proud of the help, the understanding, unlimited time, and compassion and love that the case managers at Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) gave my friend, Eileen, in the moments of her greatest need for help and reassurance. I helped connect Eileen to PAF and was on the phone with her and the case manager during the intake. I heard firsthand how the process works and the devotion that the case manager gave my friend. That loyalty to purpose and mission on the part of PAF’s case management workers only can come directly from the heart. My dear friend passed away nearly two months ago, but Eileen shared with me how much comfort and security she had in knowing PAF was right there by her side, fighting for her, for her medications, her grants, helping to get her the treatments she needed by way of contacting the pharmaceutical companies when her insurance company would not pay for her medications and helping her with financial needs and advice. She told me she knew she had a wonderful team of friends on her side at PAF. I am proud, because I have the privilege to be part of a person-centered organization that not only gives assistance to people where needed, but they do it with all their hearts. I am proud and grateful for the opportunity to use my voice to help pass legislation and represent patients on issues of critical importance with policy makers. I look forward to continuing my advocacy work with NPAF and hope to motivate other volunteers.
Mary Stabile is a NPAF volunteer and resident of New Jersey.
If you or someone you know is having trouble accessing or affording health care, please contact Patient Advocate Foundation at 1-800-532-5274. If you’re interested in volunteering for NPAF, please sign up here.