likely to die over a five-year period
than were non-volunteers.
Eunice Gole says giving to others
is what keeps her going. The retired
licensed practical nurse volunteers
three or four hours twice a week at
the Bethany Care Centre in Didsbury.
She visits with many residents,
including a 72-year-old woman who
has MS and is partially paralyzed. “I
do her fingernails, curl her hair, chat
with her, take her outside for a ride in
her electric wheelchair and tidy her
room,” says Gole.
“She’s the youngest one in there.
Sometimes, I think ‘if that was me,
how would I react?’ I hope there’s
someone to look after me if I need it.”
Gole is 85.
Before the Bethany opened a year
and a half ago, she did volunteer
home care: bathing, feeding and
cooking for those in need. “I don’t
expect to be paid. I just love people,”
Gole says. “Volunteering makes me
happy. I enjoy it or I wouldn’t do it.”
At the other end of the age
spectrum, Aknin examined if and
how children experience the joy of
giving. The study include 20 toddlers
under age two, their parents and a
each child a pile of cookies and
crackers and asked them to feed one
of their treats to the hungry monkey.
The facilitator also “found” an extra
treat, which she asked the children
videotaped and coded their facial
The study, published in 2012, found
children were the happiest—they had
the biggest smiles—when they were
giving, not receiving, especially when
sacrificing that extra treat.
From sharing cookies and crackers
to donating money to spending time
with those in need, there are endless
ways to give and get the glow.
Besides volunteering at the
Bethany, Gole and her husband knit
24 blankets every year for women
and children who come to the Sheriff
King Home emergency shelter in
Calgary to escape family violence.
Similarly, Goyal has sold handmade beaded lanyards and eyeglass
holders to raise money for a dining
room renovation at CapitalCare
Grandview. Instead of presents for
her birthday that year, she asked
people to donate to the cause and
Or, take Nigel Brockton, a research
scientist in cancer epidemiology with
Alberta Health Services. He gives by
combining cycling with fundraising.
Brockton beat Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare
and highly aggressive cancer twice,
25 years ago. He joined the Enbridge
That same year, he started a
training group to help new riders
prepare for the annual 200-kilometre
cycling event that raises money for
the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
From spring through fall, Brockton,
44, leads four or five training rides
every week in and around Calgary.
“I’m the sheepdog,” he says of
herding cyclists of all levels. In the
process, he’s transformed his own
physical fitness, created a tightly knit
social circle and helped turn people
His team of about 105 members is
called One Aim and has raised $1.6
million over the past six years. His
Cancer: $2 million.
“Being able to help others makes
me feel pretty good,” Brockton says.
Calgary cancer researcher Nigel Brockton (in front)
combines cycling and fundraising to combat the
disease that he studies and has survived.