When he was young, Devin Box’s father gave him some wise advice . He said, “People are not going to remember you for what you did, but they will remember you for how you made them feel.” Those words resonated with Devin and became the foundation for how he now lives, works and connects with the community.
A Western University student and future doctor, Devin is grateful for the support of his two mentors, Dr. Jayne Garland and Dr. Mary Jenkins, who pointed him toward Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario (PSSO) when he was looking for volunteer opportunities where he could build relationships and experience the impact of human connections that cannot be learned from a book.
His work with PSSO began just a few weeks before COVID-19 arrived where he jumped into the role of facilitator for the London Parkinson ’s support group. Through the support group, his learning continues. He has met incredible people and he listens with care and compassion to the successes and challenges of their unique and individual journeys. Devin states, “I want to use my experience and my education to lift others up, to help out and to make a difference. It is essential to me that people realize they are important and valuable, and I want their experience to be full of positive energy and support.”
By March, the support group moved to an online platform. This can often present challenges for larger groups to communicate. So far, the process is working well. These virtual meetings still offer support, discussions continue to be engaging and participation is growing.
To help ensure the online version was providing what participants wanted, Devin sent a survey to gain insight on the topics that the group would like to explore each month, along with asking what they wanted to see from him as their facilitator. He offers, “People’s needs given this pandemic may have changed and I want to be sure we are bringing forth all the right information for this group.” Devin is excited to be sharing the stage at the June support group with Nelson Sleno. Nelson is the author of Shaking Hands, which is a chronicle of his inspirational personal journey, one Mr. Sleno calls a “road-map to guide family and friends whose lives are indelibly altered by this disease.” Devin’s plan is to continue to provide varied and relevant information each month to all participants of the London Parkinson’s support group.
Devin shares that volunteering with PSSO has opened his eyes to the genuine nature of medicine versus the competitiveness of the classroom. He understands why medical schools want people who are committed to both their communities and the people who live there. When he asks himself, why is it he wants to be a doctor, the answer that always comes back is an unequivocal, “because of my passion to serve others.”
Devin plans to stick with his volunteer role at PSSO and is also happy to pitch in and help out with whatever the needs are, even if he’s a little unsure of what he might be getting into. He wants to make a difference. He enjoys working with the PSSO team and learning how to successfully provide support through a pandemic. He shares, “I’m in the right place right now for my life and I believe everything happens for a reason. I’m learning new skills, sharing fresh experiences and I am grateful for all the people I have met.”
It sounds like his Dad might just be onto something. There’s a very good chance that people will always remember Devin for how he makes them feel.