Volunteer uses her talent to fill the hospital with music

Jackie Griffin

Volunteer Jackie Griffin brings her years of piano playing to North York General Hospital (NYGH), helping to brighten the days of patients in our Reactive Unit and providing enjoyment to everyone in the Torokvei Atrium. Jackie has also been volunteering in the hospital's Gift Shop. for 14 years. 

“When you volunteer you get so much more than you give,” says Jackie. “I get to interact with all different people, whether helping pick a gift for a new baby or playing the piano for staff, patients and visitors.”

When the patients in North York General's Reactive Unit gather weekly, Jackie plays calming tunes in the background, giving them the opportunity to meet and converse with others. “Music is reminiscent of their younger years and brings back sentimental memories and can also stimulate their emotional and spiritual wellbeing,” says Jackie Marcoux, Recreational Therapist on the Reactive Unit.

“Many patients over the years have said that Jackie has brightened their day with her music. She brings them a little bit of sunshine even if the weather outside isn't too pleasant,” she says.

Jackie began playing the piano at only six years old. She is trained in classical music, but you'll hear her performing anything from show tunes to contemporary.

Jackie Griffin playing the piano
Volunteer Jackie Griffin playing the piano in North York General Hospital's Torokvei Atrium.

“The best present my parents ever gave me was piano lessons — I have been able to play throughout my whole life,” says Jackie. 

Volunteer Jackie Griffin playing the piano in North York General Hospital's Torokvei Atrium.

With the holidays around the corner, Jackie is giving the gift of music to our patients, visitors, staff, physicians and volunteers. 

“When someone comes up and tells me I made their day a little bit easier, or simply thanks me for playing, it makes it all worth it,” says Jackie. 

Listen to Jackie play the piano at North York General Hospital in these two short video clips:

La vie en rose (12 sec)

Waltzing Mathilda (9 sec)

This article first appeared in the December 2018-January 2019 issue of The Pulse.

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