​Volunteer with A Big Heart

Julia C.

Since September 29, 2014, Julia Cottrelle has been both a Unit Support Volunteer and a Group Rehab Therapy Support Volunteer on the Neuro ABI unit at Toronto Rehab-University Centre.  In these roles she has volunteered more than 140 hours of her time!

In Julia's words……

"I was attracted to Toronto Rehab because I wanted to work with the brain in a different capacity so as to expand my sense of it medically and in a human context.

I feel I have really learned to talk to people for the first time in my life through volunteering on the Neuro ABI units.  I've learned to love more freely, to extend touch and voice and perhaps for the first time come to know and truly like myself.  I was wracked with anxiety and inadequacy in the first months and since that time, the depths of kindness, openness and courage of the patients I volunteer with has levelled my sense of our interconnectedness and reliance on one another as humans.

Sometimes I sit with an elderly gentleman and listen to stories.  Other times, we confront thoughts of death, of God, of living through changes in the body and the mind that shift the strength of connection of those who loved.  We sit in pain, we are glazed through tears hostage to the laughter that folds us and we care intensely about one another's trajectory in the time that we are there together."

It is my greatest blessing to sit in raw moments and reach to the innermost crevices to be honest with patients on my thoughts about fighting to love, live and be in this world.  It is a greater privilege to listen.

I recently completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in the areas of English and History.  I have a passion for medicine and am in an exploratory phase of life.

Beyond the hospital, I spend time singing, running, cycling, playing tennis, riding, skiing, practicing yoga, working the farm and striving to be a loving and fully present family member and friend."


Julia, your positive attitude and dedication to our program and patients are a testament to the person you are.  From all of us in Volunteer Resources, we thank you for your hard work and dedication! ​

Misty Tudor – Program Coordinator, Volunteer Resources

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