Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tennis Challenge to Support Hope Hospice

The Sanctuary Golf Club on Sanibel is hosting its second annual Hope Hospice Tennis Challenge, which promises to be a weekend of fun for a worthy cause. Proceeds from the event enable Hope Hospice to care for people in need, regardless of their ability to pay.

The event will be held on Saturday, November 20 and Sunday, November 21 at the Sanctuary Golf Club, located at 2801 Wulfort Road, Sanibel. Tournament play begins at 8:30 AM Saturday.

The two-day challenge will feature men and women’s bracketed doubles in elimination rounds, as well as consolation rounds. Bracket winners and finalists as well as the consolation winners will receive awards designed by renowned local artist Lucas Century. The entry fee is $50 per person. A continental breakfast and lunch will be served on both days.

This year’s event is anticipated to be bigger and even more successful than last year’s.

For more information on participating as a player or a sponsor, call Christie Bradley: (239) 472-5276.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Hope for the Holidays Preparation Can Help in Avoiding Holiday Grief

The holidays are often thought of as joyful time of the year in Southwest Florida, with parties, and of course, special times with our families.

However, as Hope Hospice President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith points out, “The holidays can be difficult for people coping with the loss of a loved one. The season may be full of reminders of recent loss in our lives. During the holidays, even feelings of grief from years past can seem fresh.”

Beckwith says thoughtful preparation can help to alleviate the grief and stress. The Pathways of Hope Counseling Center helps families who have experienced loss throughout the year. Hope’s professional counselors offer special suggestions for the holidays.

Those who have recently lost a loved one, as well as their friends, should not try to ignore the loss and pretend that nothing has changed. Recognize that the holidays won't be the same. Expecting everything to be the same might lead to disappointment.

During the holidays, allow yourself, or your grieving friend, permission to do what feels right. At a time of year when many people feel compelled to follow holiday traditions, doing something different can be helpful. For example, you may want to create a new tradition, such as lighting a special candle in remembrance, or donating to a favorite charity in the name of the loved one.

You may want to do something special for others, and when they thank you, you can explain how you did it to honor your loved one.

Avoid additional stress. Decide what you really want to do over the holiday season and give yourself permission to avoid things you don't want to do.

Plan for the approaching holidays. Recognize that the holidays might be a difficult time for you.

The stress may affect you emotionally, mentally, and physically. This is a normal reaction.

Be careful not to isolate yourself. It's important to take quiet, reflective time for yourself but also allow yourself the support offered from friends and family.

The holidays may affect other family members. Talk over your plans and share your feelings.

Respect other's choices and needs.

For more information, call 800-835-1673.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Hope Chest Celebrates One-Year Anniversary During National Hospice Month

In its first year of operation, Hope Chest has made almost 50 thousand sales. About 200 times each day, shoppers purchase everything from large TVs to antiques, from ballroom gowns to trendy casual wear.

It’s been a year since the store changed its name from Twice is Nice and moved from Metro Parkway to 13821 North Cleveland Avenue in North Fort Myers. The business outgrew its original 4,800 square feet of floor space and now occupies 30,000 square feet in a former Publix supermarket.

"Hope Chest is an asset to the operation of Hope Hospice as well as to the community," said Samira K. Beckwith, Hope president and CEO. "The community has been very kind to us, with their donations of high-quality merchandise for resale. The proceeds from all sales benefit our patients and their families."

In celebration of its first year and National Hospice Month, Hope Chest has planned a month of special shopper opportunities:

Week of November 1: Hope Chest begins its sale of Christmas merchandise - fifty percent off until after the holidays.
Week of November 8: Selected sofas priced at $25, chairs at $10.
Week of November 15: Clothing 75 percent off (unless otherwise marked).
Week of November 22: Furniture priced at 25 percent off, including antique pieces.
Other specials to be offered each day.
On Monday, November 15, Hope Hospice will present Hope Chest Volunteer Day, with an open house, refreshments and information about working at the store as a volunteer.

Hope Chest is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM until 5 PM, and Saturday from 9 AM until 4 PM. For more information, call (239) 652-1114.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Rabbi Harold Kushner

Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of international best sellers and award-winning inspirational and motivational books, is returning to Fort Myers to make a free presentation to the public on Monday, October 18. The event is presented by Hope Hospice.

“Rabbi Kushner’s appearance here last year was a huge success, and we are delighted to host his return at this time,” said Hope Hospice President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith. Kushner’s presentation will focus on two of his best-known books, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, and The Lord is My Shepherd. “When tragedy comes into a life or a community, people ask, ‘Why me?’ Rabbi Kushner brings positive and reassuring answers drawn from his own experience,” Beckwith said.

Harold S. Kushner is Rabbi Laureate of Temple Israel in the Boston suburb of Natick, Massachusetts, after serving that congregation for twenty-four years. He is best known as the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, an international best seller. The book has been translated into fourteen languages and was recently selected by members of the Book of the Month Club as one of the ten most influential books of recent years.

The late-October event is Hope Hospice’s lead-in to National Hospice Month in November. Books will be available for purchase and the Rabbi will sign them after the presentation.

The presentation, free and open to the public, will take place on Monday, October 18 at 7 PM at the Harborside Event Center.

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Hope Hospice Awarded Circle of Life Award

Hope Hospice received the prestigious Circle of Life Award in recognition for its innovative program that improves the care of individuals at the end of life.

The Circle of Life Award honors programs across the United States that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care. The awards are supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey and are sponsored by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

Last year, Hope Hospice was awarded the Circle of Life Citation of Honor for its strategy to make services available to anyone who needs hospice care, regardless of age, diagnosis, or ability to pay. This year’s award bestows the highest level of recognition for its work, and Hope Hospice is the only Florida honoree.

Under Beckwith’s leadership, Hope Hospice initiated an approach to patient care that they refer to as their Collage of Comfort. “Our Collage of Comfort philosophy encompasses every aspect of the individual’s well-being – body, mind and spirit,” Beckwith said. “At the heart of it is our commitment to make sure the system is working to meet the specific needs and preferences of each individual in our care, not in trying to make a patient fit into a standardized system.”

Beckwith also said, “It’s an honor to be nationally recognized for our work and our ideas, but it is an even greater honor to be able to serve such a wonderful community that supports our efforts.”

AHA President Dick Davidson said, “Hope Hospice has made great strides in end-of-life and palliative care. Their program reflects the importance they place on serving patients and their families. It is in celebration of this innovative, caring spirit that we proudly award them our Circle of Life Award.”

Davidson said that Hope Hospice was chosen by a selection committee made up of leaders from medicine, nursing, social work and health administration. The committee focused on innovative programs that respect patient goals and preferences, provide comprehensive care, acknowledge and address the family or caregivers’ concerns and needs, and build systems and mechanisms of support to continue the program for future patients and caregivers.

Monday, March 1, 2004

Gala Fundraiser Brings 550 Supporters for Bonita Springs Hospice House

The name starts with Hope, but the event had a lot to say about love. Some 550 people turned out on Valentine's Day for the second annual Hope Hospice benefit ball, helping to add more stones to the foundation of the group's first Bonita Springs hospice house.

Dining among roses and strewn petals at the Hyatt Regency, Coconut Point, $300-a-ticket supporters bid on items as diverse as heirloom pearls and a Gem Car, the four-seat Chrysler hybrid car for navigating neighborhoods.

"Everybody was sitting in it because everyone wanted it," said Samira Beckwith, president and CEO of the organization, laughing. "We could have charged people just to pose for pictures in it."

Groundbreaking for a hospice house is scheduled for this month. A $5 million capital campaign has passed the $1.5 million mark, according to Beckwith.

"We've been in existence 20 years and cared for people in Bonita Springs that many years. We serve people in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties, and our goal has always been to build here. When our first hospice house went in in Fort Myers in 1995, we already knew our third one would be in Bonita Springs."

Currently the organization operates a 16- bed house in Fort Myers Health Park and a 36-bed house in Cape Coral. The Bonita Springs house will hold 24 patients with terminal illnesses, and will be named for the late Joanne Dallepezze, a Bonita Springs woman who had Hope Hospice care before her death.

Her husband, John Dallepezze; son, Peter; and daughter, Christy, offered the lead gift to start the campaign for Bonita, Beckwith said. Their generosity was echoed in the Hearts of Hope Gala Feb. 14, for which cochairs Donna Roberts and Etta Smith produced some unusual prizes.

"I've been to a lot of events over years but for this one people were very generous and made it a great time. The bidding was very lively and a lot of fun," Beckwith said.

Attendees were especially intent on getting the Gem Car, but also bid heavily on a double strand of pearls with special meaning. The pearls had been donated by a hospice patient close to death who wanted to support the new hospice.

"This was so nice - a really beautiful gesture. There was family she could have given them to, but she chose to help with this," Beckwith said.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Memory Book for Hospice Patients: A Hope Volunteer Project Preserves Legacies

Mildred Bruhn met her first great-grandbaby last week, a beautiful 10-month old named Alice whom Mildred promptly nicknamed "Bouncy-Bouncy" for her affinity for a bouncing swing.

Ah, the stories Mildred could share with this child - about fishing northern Minnesota's lakes or playing high school softball or taking long road trips with husband Ralph - the two drove through every state in the continental United States except for Washington and Oregon.

But Mildred, 84, is terminally ill. Cancerous tumors press on her brain, and a seizure felled her on Thanksgiving Day. She arrived at Hope Hospice earlier this month.

Hospice staff members don't want Mildred's life to go uncelebrated and her stories to go untold. That is why 16-year-old Victoria settled into a chair beside Mildred one morning earlier this week and peppered her with questions about her life.

Victoria will take the stories and photos Mildred and her family shares and, with Mildred's help, create a memory book for all of the generations of Mildred's family to come.

Hope Hospice started the memory book program about a year ago as a way for patients to leave their legacies. About 46 teenagers work year-round with patients who are interested in sharing their stories.

Victoria, a Fort Myers High School junior who wants to become a teacher, learned about the program through her Girl Scout troop. She's done community service work before, but this is her first longterm project.

"Do you have children?" Victoria asked Mildred.

"We had three daughters and one son," Mildred replied. Son David died during childbirth. Mildred and Ralph raised daughters Deanne, Darlene and Delores, who goes by "Dede."

"The Three D's," Mildred calls her girls. As the conversation between the young woman and the older woman continued, a picture of Mildred's life emerged. Mildred's husband, and daughter Dede, who was visiting from Minnesota, helped fill in the blanks.

Mildred was born on May 29, 1919, and grew up in Hutchinson, Minn. She graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1936. Her senior portrait shows a pretty young woman with rosy cheeks and wavy brown hair clipped just below her ears. She played the piano and the cornet.

About 20 years ago, she learned to play the organ as a way of rehabilitating the right side of her body, which was crushed in an automobile accident. Mildred married Ralph in 1941, and gave birth to Dede a year later. Mildred was a beautician, although her husband describes her primary job as "taking care of Ralph." Their daughters grew up and married and gave the couple seven grandchildren.

Victoria looked through family photos that chronicled life's biggest events - grinning brides in long dresses, a portrait of her and her husband on their own wedding day, a snapshot of herself, Dede, Dede's daughter and baby Alice - the family's first four-generation photograph.

Mildred's eyes drooped as Victoria interviewed her, a woman slowed by illness and age. But in younger years, Mildred was a woman who wanted to break the mold. In her closet at home she kept a baseball cap with the motto "Dare to be Different."

"If someone told me to stir a cake like that, I'd stir it the other way," Mildred said matter-of-factly.

Was that a value she passed on to her daughters? "No. They were taught to obey their mother," she replied.

Dede nodded in confirmation. There is one lesson Mildred, a devout Lutheran, wanted to pass on to her family: "We cannot do everything by ourselves," she said. "It may get ever so rough. but there are always better days to come."

Tears welled in her husband's and daughter's eyes, but they dried them and moved to happier thoughts - good times that they related to Victoria who jotted notes on a stenographer's pad.

Victoria promised to return within the next few days and begin putting Mildred's memories on paper. Victoria said she had been nervous when she first started volunteering a few months ago.

"I didn't know what it would be like," she said. But she's eased into her role. "It is just like talking to your grandparents and hearing their stories," Victoria said.