Sister Volunteers United in Desire to Help Others

It is often said that sisters are mirrors  – although that’s not entirely the case for two volunteers at Tucson Medical Center who staff the surgery lobby.

Connie Corcoran and Cochelle Dubs say they’re quite opposites in many ways.

A former probation officer, Connie is precise – the type who wants a plan and works through lists and hangs her blouses in tidy, even spaces. She’s the type who will gamble with $20 for five hours when the two stay at a casino resort together.

Cochelle, a retired middle school principal, is more likely to take one of her sister’s blouses and hang it up wrong, or to put handprints on the mirror by the front door just to see how long it takes for her neatnik sister to clean it. Cochelle doesn’t stop at $20.

And yet, the two complement each other during their weekly volunteer stints, in part because they share core values and life experiences, including having careers in which it was important to have sensitivity in dealing with people who were under some element of stress. They’re so close, they often finish each other’s sentences.

Cochelle has been volunteering at TMC for more than two years and finally persuaded Connie to try it earlier this year.

“I was very clear that I just wanted to try it out and I didn’t want to make a commitment,” Connie recalled, “ but I worked with Cochelle one time and that was it. I wasn’t here an hour and I was hooked.”

Why? “I love talking to people. I love that it’s busy. I love meeting doctors. And I really like it when you can make somebody forget about whatever is happening with their loved one for just a while and make them laugh,” Connie said.

Cochelle agreed. “There are so many little things you can do to make a difference. Maybe it’s bringing someone a pillow or a lunch, or maybe it’s helping them find a quiet conference room so they can regroup.”

At St. Patrick’s Day, Cochelle practically bought out a gift shop’s supply of green flashing earrings and buttons.  She handed them out to visitors throughout the day until the lobby was one big blink. On Valentine’s Day, she brought balloons and yummy chocolate and crystal dishes from home to add a bit of festivity.

They also use humor. Connie likes to call a special doctor her “boyfriend” in jest. Cochelle has been known to welcome guests over the microphone in the morning to “our resort.”

It doesn’t take money to show anybody compassion and to be sensitive to their needs and to build them up,” Connie said.

 And it makes it all the better to do that work with a sister. “She is my sister, but she’s also my closest friend,” Connie said. “I can’t think of anybody in the whole world who knows more about me than she does.”

Right down to her closet.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Rd. | Tucson, AZ 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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