Contact: Annie Rizzo
As a young girl, Priscilla Hundley sat in her elementary school classroom trying to read her teachers lips because she could not hear very well. When her classmates enjoyed free time on the playground, Priscilla opted to stay inside and copy her teachers notes so she would not fall behind. Priscilla lost her hearing at age four but was determined to not give up. She proudly earned her diploma at age twenty-one.
Fast-forward through her career of twenty years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Priscilla did not find a solution for her hearing loss, yet she still did not give up. Along the way, Priscilla felt that others did not quite understand her, she felt ostracized and at times, felt left out. Still, giving up was not in the cards.
For the past thirty-five years, IRMC has had the privilege of having Priscilla as a volunteer. Marge Scheeren, former Director of Volunteer Services at IRMC, who devoted her life to serving others in the community, became a mentor for Priscilla. “She (Scheeren) told me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When it storms, there is always sunshine at the end. She reminded me not to give up,” recalls Priscilla. While Scheeren frequently provided Priscilla with motivational phrases, she also instilled a spirit of volunteerism in Priscilla – and she even gave Priscilla a pet cat to keep her company! Currently, Priscilla offers her time to assist in Patient Financial Services, Diabetes office, front desk, the mail room and helps Administration with special projects. During this time, Priscilla still had difficulty hearing.
It was not until last year (2021) that Priscilla was given the diagnosis that she is deaf. This came as a surprise to Priscilla – but a bigger surprise was when Priscilla received her permanent hearing implant and heard her cat, Romeo, purr for the first time. New sounds, noises and voices came to life – things that others take for granted.
Priscilla says she enjoys volunteering at IRMC because she has made new friends who she feels are like family. “I see teamwork at IRMC. If someone needs help, I am here for them. I enjoy it,” said Priscilla. Not only does Priscilla lend a helping hand, but she encourages anyone who may be in an analogous situation to “not give up” and know that you can overcome any obstacle. She reminds others to be their own advocate and to stay up to date with your physician visits.
At a volunteer recognition luncheon this spring, Priscilla was awarded the 2022 Marge Scheeren Volunteer of the Year award. Priscilla was nominated by IRMC employees from almost every department, by fellow volunteers, and numerous physicians – which does not happen often. This award is a testament to following the life-lessons Scheeren taught her. Priscilla never gave up.