Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sandoval Brings Christmas Cheer to Hope Hospice Cape Coral

The Christmas Project began in 2010 when Mary Lou O’Phelan received a load of unfinished Christmas quilt blocks from Patty Bartkowski at the Cape Coral Quilt Guild. That year, 22 Christmas quilts were donated to Hope Hospice. The following year, many members of the Guild joined in, allowing the group to donate 57 Christmas quilts. In 2012 Mary Lou O’Phelan and Marcia Denning decided to start a Quilt Club at the Sandoval clubhouse, to meet once a week. That year, special kits were made for those who wanted to participate in the Christmas project. The Club donated a total of 76 quilts at a special luncheon event - which has since become a tradition of the Sandoval Quilt Club.

The group now meets twice a month to enjoy the process of quilting, and every year they are able to donate more quilts. This year, Sandoval Quilt Club members donated 120 Christmas quilts to be distributed to homebound Hope Hospice recipients. These quilts are made with love, and every member has contributed in some way to make the project a success. Others from the Cape Coral Quilt Guild have also contributed to the cause - resulting in a large number of quilts and a festive event! Special thanks also goes to volunteers Carol Rose, Mary Ann McCarthy, and Sandy Nelson for their effort and dedication.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tree of Lights in Hope Hospice Houses

For more than 25 years, Hope has celebrated the spirit of the holidays with the Tree of Lights memorial. Placing an ornament on a twinkling tree in memory of a loved one has become a cherished family tradition for many. Over the years, people have shared that this simple act is their favorite way to honor those who have touched their lives.

At each Hospice House, we have adorned the Tree of Lights with white paper butterflies featuring loved ones’ names. A gift of $25 ensures the placement of a personalized butterfly; with a gift of $50 or more, donors will also receive a 2016 metal keepsake ornament for their own tree. Ornaments may be purchased online at or at the Hospice Houses’ front desks.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Anniversary Celebrations at Joanne’s House

Amy was looking forward to her 25th anniversary with her husband, Tom. She hoped to make it a very special occasion. Geri, a personal care specialist at Joanne’s House, asked what we could do to help make it memorable for the happy couple. Our volunteer coordinator was able to find a tablecloth and fine china from our volunteer closet. We provided their favorite dinner from Outback Steakhouse along with a celebratory cake. In the Hospice House kitchen, staff helped plate the dinner for a pretty presentation.

Not to be outdone, Barbara and John celebrated a special anniversary of their own not long afterwards! These two loving couples made everyone smile, showing us that at Hope Hospice, every day can truly be a gift.

Amy and Tom

Barbara and John

Celebration of Life Memorial Services: December 11

At Hope, we know that living with loss is one of life’s greatest challenges - especially during the holidays.

You and your family are welcome to join us as we come together in community, compassion and caring to celebrate the memory of our loved ones.

You may bring a photo of your loved one to display during the service. Seating is limited. RSVP no later than December 5 by calling (877) 856-2449.

All five services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 11:
  • Bonita Springs, Hope Community Room
  • Cape Coral, Hope Community Room
  • Fort Myers, Hope Community Room
  • Lehigh Acres, Hope Chapel
  • LaBelle, 475 E. Cowboy Way

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Toast to Hope event raises more than $25,000 for Hope Healthcare

More than 135 friends, family and supporters of Hope Healthcare recently gathered for the 6th annual Toast to Hope event and raised more than $25,000 to benefit Hope Hospice of Cape Coral and the Tribute Gardens.

Organized by chair Gloria Tate and the Toast to Hope committee, the event featured silent and live auctions and live music at a private riverfront residence in North Fort Myers.

Hope’s Tribute Gardens offer the opportunity for families to enjoy the solace and beauty of the outdoors with their loved ones, away from the hospice setting.

Adam Culliton, Carol Culliton and Richard Metzger

Kathleen Passidomo, Gary and Connie Hogrefe

Monday, October 24, 2016

Lexington Country Club’s annual Italian Open golf tournament contributions surpass $100,000 mark with $34,600 raised to benefit Hope

Lexington Country Club members raised $34,600 at their sixth annual Italian Open golf tournament for Hope Hospice – and pushed the total donations over the history of the event past the $100,000 mark.

Event organizer Jerry Curcuru, along with his committee of Greg Salvia, Phil Bommarito and John Sackie, coordinated the Oct. 13 event for more than 300 members who enjoyed decorated golf carts, prizes for top golfers, raffles and an Italian-themed dinner.

Unique Piano Recital at Hope

Sawyer with a doll created in the image of his grandmother
My mother, Florence, received hospice services in your Hospice House where she passed away on April 5, 2016. She was an amazing mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and friend. Our family misses her dearly and talks about her every day.

As a way to honor her, Lorrie McCann, Renee Stack, and Hope Hospice volunteers helped to coordinate and host a recital at the Hospice House on October 3, 2016, where my seven-year-old son Sawyer played the piano. This was very special to me and my husband because Sawyer played the piano for his grandmother every day as she while she lay in bed trying to get well at home. In addition, this was very meaningful to my mother as she was able to listen to beautiful music while watching her grandson grow and learn day in and day out.

This gift shared between Sawyer and his grandmother was extraordinary and valued deeply by our entire family. We feel blessed that Sawyer’s music brought so much love and peace to my mother while she was limited in what she could do. We appreciate you supporting Sawyer in expressing his feelings and helping him through his grief journey by playing songs for Hope Hospice patients and families in the hope that they may experience what my family has through his music.

In discussing the recital with many who attended, not only did they enjoy the piano playing and refreshments, but my family realized our broader connection to others via the many positive Hope Hospice stories shared about loved ones lost.

Sawyer wishes to say thank you for making this recital happen. It made him happy because he got to play for his Grandma where he last visited her before she passed away.

The work you do for patients and their families experiencing the end of life is exceptional in every interaction that my family has experienced - from open and honest discussions with the medical team to bereavement groups, counseling services, and hosting this recital. We are thrilled to know that we will have another opportunity for a piano recital and holiday sing-along on December 22 where our family, friends, current patients, and their loved ones can experience the love of music and compassion shared between a little boy and his grandmother at the Hope Hospice House in Fort Myers.

~Michelle, Sawyer’s mother

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

12th annual Fillet and Release Fishing Tournament raises $36,000 to benefit Hope Hospice

Matanzas on the Bay on Fort Myers Beach hosted the 12th annual Fillet and Release Fishing Tournament, raising $36,000 to benefit Hope Hospice. A total of 104 boats participated in the light tackle, inshore fishing tournament on Sept. 24, raising a record amount for Hope Hospice. In addition to the funds raised through entry fees, the first place and second place teams also generously donated $5,000 and $1,000, respectively, of their winnings to Hope Hospice.

“This year’s Fillet and Release Fishing Tournament was another huge success, with Southwest Florida anglers coming together to help raise a record number of funds for Hope Hospice,” said Glen Petrarca, general manager of Matanzas on the Bay. “Hope Hospice does so much to care for those in need, and we are honored to support its mission by hosting this community event each year.”

Amy Andrew, event coordinator of the Fillet and Release Fishing Tournament, has led the annual event since its inception in 2004 to raise funds for Hope Hospice, a nonprofit organization that has taken care of many families, including her own. The 12th annual tournament marked Andrew’s final year leading the event.

“Happy to say that I went out with a bang my final year. Being able to give $36,000 to Hope Hospice is a great feeling,” Andrew said. “Over the past 12 years I have raised $129,540.00. I feel like I have done my part to give back for all Hope Hospice did for my family. I know my grandma and grandpa would be proud. Thanks to everyone who helped make the Fillet and Release for Hope Hospice such a successful event.”

The winning teams of the 2016 Fillet and Release Fishing Tournament include:

  • First Place: Reel Nauti Davis; Eric and Alexandria Davis
  • Second Place: Ferguson; Scotty Darna, Tyler Evenson, Robert Ball and Dylan Geraci
  • Third Place: Renegade; Dillon Massie, Brian Harris, Lisa Harris and Troy Gale
  • Redfish Calcutta: Reel Nauti Davis; Eric and Alexandria Davis
  • Mystery Fish: Team Shenanigans; Karl Butigian, Rick Jordan and Jeff Lindsey
  • Female Largest Redfish: Reel Nauti Davis; Alexandria Davis
  • Smallest Legal Redfish: Miley’s Diesel Service; Steve Miley, Donna Miley and John Judge

Winners were determined by the total weight of fish caught. Eligible species included redfish and snook, and all fish were released following the weigh-in.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hope Chest celebrates Labor Day with weekend sales

Shoppers can enjoy a weekend of savings as Hope Chest upscale resale stores celebrate Labor Day.

On Friday, Sept. 2, Saturday, Sept. 3 and Monday, Sept. 5, visitors to the Hope Chest stores in Bonita Springs and North Fort Myers will discover brand-name clothing, high-quality furniture, specialty home goods, antiques and collectibles – many priced at up to 50 percent off.

Proceeds from the Hope Chest stores benefit Hope HealthCare Services programs that provide exceptional care and support to individuals and their loved ones as they fulfill life’s journey.

Located at 28520 Bonita Crossings Blvd., off U.S. 41 south of Bonita Beach Road, Hope Chest at The Crossings is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The North Fort Myers Hope Chest at 13821 N Cleveland Ave. is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Providing More than Food at Hope Connections

In July, our Hope Connections office received a very concerned call from the local Area Agency on Aging. A homeless senior was living in a van, and there were reports that he wasn’t eating.

On the same day, our case manager Ruby was able to find his location, and they met at the side of the road. We were able to provide a cooler full of ice, water, juice and milk as well as hot meals and some shelf stable food items. Hope Connections staff continued to provide hot meals daily while getting to know this special person.

Although he was very reluctant to accept assistance at first, Ruby established a personal connection during the meal deliveries – always delivered by the side of the road.

With that new foundation of trust, the senior reached out to local housing entities and began working with the homeless program to transition to more permanent housing.

Hunger is often a symptom of more complicated problems, but the simple act of providing food can build a relationship that can lead to many life-changing solutions.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bonita Springs Events Committee Theme Party

This lovely Father Day Party in Bonita Springs was hosted by Hope volunteers Ann Haxter, Judi Horvath, Linda Cagan and Pam Hoctel - who also created the special theme cake. Victoria Thrift played the piano to entertain the guests who attended this special event at Joanne's House.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Save the Date: Parkinson Fall Forum

Hope Parkinson Program Fall Forum

Friday October 7
10:00 a.m. to Noon
Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops (map)

Presentations Include:
Dr. Amanda Avila, Hope Parkinson Program Medical Director
"PD Medical Treatments: Fact versus Fiction"

Patricia Radford, Senior Associate Director, Advancement
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
"Current Research and Foundation Updates"

Seating is limited; registration is required.
Online registration opens Friday, August 26.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Hope Volunteer Secures $500 through State Farm Matching Gift

M., a Hope volunteer, submitted a record of his hours for a matching grant through the State Farm Companies Foundation Good Neighbors Matching Gift Program.

As a retired State Farm employee, his 77 hours of volunteering were credited with a $500 donation to Hope.

M. was originally recruited at a State Farm volunteer fair - where he ran into a hospice nurse who had cared for his first wife during her illness. Through this very personal connection, his passion for giving back became the start of a long career as a hospice volunteer.

Since 2009, M. has volunteered for Hope during his seasonal residence in southwest Florida, visiting individuals in our care at local facilities and the Hope Hospice House.

For those who are considering volunteering directly with individuals as he does, M. shared words of encouragement:

"In these controlled settings, you don't really have anything to worry about. There is support for you everywhere you turn. And, you'll find that very few people want to talk about their illness. They want to talk about their family members, where they're from... it's not difficult to do. Volunteering makes me feel good about myself."

Many large companies like State Farm offer similar Volunteer Matching grants. For example:

  • Aetna: $300 for every 20 hours
  • ConocoPhillips: $500 for every 20 hours 
  • Dell: $150 for every 10 hours
  • ExxonMobil: $500 for every 20 hours 
  • Microsoft: $25 per hour
  • Outerwall (Coinstar/Redbox): $15 per hour
  • RealNetworks: $15 per hour
  • Time Warner and Subsidiaries: $500
  • Verizon: $750 for every 50 hours 

To look up companies or organizations that offer matching gifts for monetary donations, use the online Blackbaud search tool.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hope Volunteers Complete Unique Legacy Project for Lee

Maureen Pollock and Anabel Rodriguez worked together to create a meaningful legacy for Lee to pass on to her daughter Brenda - and to future generations of her family.

Lee, who resides in a local facility, was given in-depth interviews by Maureen and Anabelle. At 100 years old, Lee had plenty of details to share from her life's history.

Her Legacy of Hope included details about her childhood in a whaling town of Massachusetts, sharing a basement toilet with three other families in their neighborhood, and her first time seeing a Model T car with a hand crank start. It describes her experiences working as a seamstress and later moving to California.

This one-of-a-kind memory piece will be treasured by Lee's family for many years to come.

About Legacy of Hope 
Throughout time, old age was revered and rare. The stories of a community’s past were treasured for their wisdom. Oral traditions were valuable history, and writing helped preserve even greater detail. In western culture, individuals would give testimony to their beliefs and values - in written form - to be read along with news of an inheritance. It was called a “Last Will and Testament.”

Hope volunteers help the individuals in our care pass on their values, affirmations and stories. They may give a message to family, friends, coworkers or anyone who attends their memorial service. The format can be completely customized for individual preferences. Some may wish to use a journal, a handwritten note, a video or an audio message.

They may want to tell stories about their lives. Some may have a proverbial saying they want to be remembered by. Or, someone could choose to leave messages in envelopes to be opened by their loved ones on important dates in the future.

Hope volunteers meet to help with these ideas, listen and write down or record stories. They help with editing and presentation, as needed. Finally, they ensure that the messages reach their intended audience.

Anyone is Hope's care may choose to participate in a Legacy of Hope project.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Lehigh Acres Healthcare Consortium's "Provider Parade and Lunch Tour"

Westminster residents joined us for the final leg of their bus tour of health care providers throughout Lehigh Acres.

Jake from “Del’s Lemonade” made some very tasty drinks for the participants - as well as our hospice patients, staff, volunteers and guests at Hope PACE. Over 50 delicious, cold lemonades were enjoyed on this hot summer day!

Deb Angelicchio spoke to the tour group about Hope's services and the importance of advance directives, while Lisa Kopp gave an overview of the Hope PACE program. Guests were able to walk through the Hospice House to see the private patient rooms, comforting common areas for family members, the children's playroom, the chapel and other featured areas of our campus.

Other stops on the tour included the Lehigh Acres Senior Center, Fountain Crest Retirement Community, Brookdale Senior Living, Lehigh Regional Medical Center and Lehigh Acres Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mother's Day Celebration at Joanne's House at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs

We're grateful to the Bonita Events Committee for continuing their exceptional efforts to celebrate holidays and special occasions at Joanne's House. Thanks to Ann Haxter, Judi Horvath, Linda Cagan and Pam Hoctel for making this event possible.

Spring Luncheon raises nearly $58,000 for Hope

The Friends of Hope Women’s Committee recently hosted its annual Spring Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, raising nearly $58,000 to benefit Hope Hospice and its Hope Kids Care and pet programs.

“The continued support of The Friends of Hope Women’s Committee allows us to fulfill our mission to provide comforting care to all who need our help,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services. “We are so grateful for the committee’s dedication, for our sponsors, and for all who made this year’s Spring Luncheon a success.”

Event chairs Barbara Caccese, Etta Smith and Signe Wynne, along with event committee members, coordinated the celebration for more than 300 guests.

The afternoon’s events included boutique shopping, raffle prizes and a fashion show hosted by Master of Ceremonies Robert Van Winkle from NBC-2 featuring spring apparel from Worth New York and Loretta Bridal Boutique of Bonita Springs.

Event sponsors included Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wynne, American House, Northern Trust, Bonita & Estero Magazine and the Spring Luncheon Committee.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Inaugural Walk 4 Hope: Raising Awareness for Hope's Parkinson Program

Nearly 150 walkers and dozens of supporters gathered on April 30 at Lakes Regional Park for Hope HealthCare Services Parkinson Program’s inaugural Walk 4 Hope.

“National Parkinson Awareness Month provided a great opportunity to garner attention for our local Parkinson community, and we are so grateful to our walkers, supporters and sponsors who participated in April’s Walk 4 Hope,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services.

“Throughout the year, Hope Parkinson Program improves the quality of life for individuals with Parkinsons and their care partners with educational events, exercise and movement classes, and creative and social opportunities,” she added.

Walk 4 Hope sponsors included Florida Neurology Group; Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers; Lee Memorial Rehabilitation Services; Medtronic; Voice Aerobics, LLC Speech-Language Therapy; and Osterhout & McKinney, PA.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Granting Alejandro's Hopeful Wish

Alejandro is legally blind, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursing his love of music.

Alejandro’s passion for the piano soon allowed him to outgrow the skills of his Hope Kids Care music therapist. Having seen his joy and excitement in playing, she wanted Alejandro to progress further in his favorite hobby. This was a chance to grant him a Hopeful Wish!

With funds donated by generous donors in our community, Hope arranged for ongoing, professional piano lessons for Alejandro. With weekly sessions at home, Alejandro continued to perfect his skills.

It wasn’t long before both his music therapist and piano teacher noticed his increased confidence and pride. In March, he shared a video of him playing the piano with his family in Puerto Rico and was thrilled at the chance to show off his new-found musical abilities.

Recently, Alejandro performed in front of a crowd of local music educators and passed his piano test with flying colors!

The Hope Kids Care staff said, “It’s so amazing that we were able to help him pursue this hobby and find an outlet for his skills. We only wish the Hopeful Wishes donors could see Alejandro’s giant smile after he performs and demonstrates his continual improvement.”

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hope Awarded FDOT Grant: Hope Mobile Fleet Expands to 14 Vehicles

A new Hope PACE Hope Mobile will be on the road soon as the result of a $84,750 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.

Hope was awarded funds from FDOT’s Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities program to add to their fleet vehicles for Hope PACE – a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Hope Mobiles transport program participants who want to remain independent in their communities and in their own homes to and from Hope’s PACE Centers in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

“Adding additional capacity to our fleet of Hope Mobiles helps us serve even more people in the community who will benefit from our PACE programs,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services. “The FDOT grant allows us to help ensure the safety and comfort of those in our care.”

The grant combines $67,800 in federal funds with $8,475 contributions from both the state and Hope HealthCare Services. The funds will be used to purchase a 26-foot-long bus with lift and capacity for up to 12 ambulatory seats and four wheelchairs that expands the Hope PACE fleet to 14 vehicles.

Get Connected to Hope during Parkinson Awareness Month

This April, millions of people around the world will recognize April as Parkinson's Awareness
Month. It's important to know that:
The red tulip became the symbol of PD in 1980 when
a horticulturalist named a tulip after Dr. Parkinson
  • Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive. 
  • Nearly one million Americans are living with Parkinson's.
  • Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected.
  • Seven to 10 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with Parkinson's disease.
  • Incidence of Parkinson's increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with Parkinson's are diagnosed before the age of 50. 
Unfortunately, the cause of Parkinson's is unknown and presently, there is no cure. That's why the Hope Parkinson Program is rallying the community of southwest Florida this April to raise awareness and funds for a cure.

Our recent Hope Parkinson newsletter details many special programs for those with PD and their care partners, including the inaugural Walk 4 Hope fundraiser at Lakes Park.

Please consider joining us - for exercise and movement classes, educational seminars and creative opportunities!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Samira K. Beckwith named to the Naples Daily News "25 Over 50"

Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith was recently named to the Naples Daily News "25 Over 50."

Nominated by their peers and the public, winners were chosen by a selection committee and included exceptional leaders of Collier and Lee counties "who continue to leave an imprint on our thriving community through their achievements, leadership abilities, philanthropic efforts, and dedication to the betterment of Southwest Florida."

All 25 honorees were cheered on by about 250 guests who attended the special awards night on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at the Hilton Naples.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hope presents “Capturing Grace” during Parkinson Awareness Month

In honor of National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month in April, Hope is presenting a special movie premiere of “Capturing Grace” by filmmaker and director Dave Iverson on Tuesday, April 5 at 2 p.m. at Shell Point in the Woodlands Grand Cypress Room.

Parkinson’s is personal for Iverson: he was the third member of his family to receive the diagnosis. While producing a film about Parkinson’s called “My Father, My Brother and Me” for the PBS Frontline series, Iverson learned about the Mark Morris Dance Group’s unique partnership with the Brooklyn Parkinson Group and the idea for “Capturing Grace” was formed.

Iverson explains that “Capturing Grace” is a story about the intersection of two realms: One is occupied by some of the most acclaimed modern dancers in the world – the other is inhabited by a group of people with Parkinson’s disease.

“This is a film about rediscovery, the rediscovery of a lighter step and the sweetness of motion.  And it’s a story about a remarkable community of dancers – some professional, some not – but all coming together to move in space...and in doing so, rediscovering grace. And it is in that rediscovery that each becomes whole,” said Iverson.

“Dave Iverson is a masterful storyteller,” said Michael J. Fox, founder of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. “‘Capturing Grace’ is a poignant reflection on the strength and resilience of the human spirit.”

There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited. Please RSVP by Friday, April 1 to or call 239-985-7727.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kelly Greens Golf and Tennis Classic raises $52,000 for Hope Hospice

Members of the Kelly Greens Golf & Country Club hosted the 15th annual Golf and Tennis Classic to benefit Hope Hospice. Golfers and tennis players raised more than $52,000, including proceeds from silent and live auctions held during the evening’s banquet.

Since the inception of the Kelly Greens tournament, residents of the country club have raised more than $435,000 for Hope Hospice.

New Issue Wings of Hope Magazine

In This Issue:

  • Healing Hearts: Finding Hope after Loss
  • Furry Friends: Sparky's Tale
  • Rainbow Trails: A Golden Opportunity for a Grieving Child

These heartwarming stories-  as well as photo galleries and updates - can be found in the most recent issue of Wings of Hope Magazine.

Hope Kids Care Family Fun Day with Junior League of Fort Myers

Hope Kids Care participants, along with their siblings, parents and caregivers, were invited to the sixth Family Fun Day hosted by the Junior League of Fort Myers at Hope HealthCare Services’ Fort Myers campus.

More than 100 guests enjoyed a day of music, refreshments, fun activities, face painting, family photos and carriage rides by Whispering Pines Clydesdales.

“Hope Kids Care helps Lee, Hendry and Glades county children who have been diagnosed with potentially life-limiting illnesses work through the medical, emotional and spiritual challenges they face each day,” said Samira Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services.

“We are so appreciative of the Junior League for continuing to host this special day that brings so much joy to the children and their loved ones,” she added.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Friends of Hope Committee: Evening in Old Havana

The Friends of Hope Committee hosted An Evening in Old Havana dinner at the Bonita Bay Club, raising more than $58,000 for Joanne’s House at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs.

Led by chairs Etta Smith, Mary Kozlowski and Joyce Kozlowski, the event hosted more than 100 guests who enjoyed ballroom salsa dancers, a cigar roller and a live auction featuring a trip to Havana. The event reunited many of the founding donors and supporters who championed Joanne’s House and helped Hope break ground on the site 11 years ago.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Volunteer’s Musings: Sherry’s Story

The tiny Hospice House kitchen was a hop away from the dining room table that I sat at to make my shell butterflies for the phone magnets. I’d usually greet a visitor after they poured themselves a cup of coffee or grabbed a cookie from the counter.

I’d explain, “I make these butterflies from sea shells,” and they’d join me at the table out of curiosity. During the explanation, I’d include that the butterfly was the symbol of Hope Hospice, signifying the freedom to enter a new life.

One day a tall young man filled his cup with coffee and asked what I was doing. I showed him the card and explained the attached shell butterfly.

“You collect all the shells? Or do you buy them?” he asked. I responded that I had collected shells on Sanibel beach. After I’d accumulated a few cardboard boxes full, my husband said, “You better start doing something with these or I’ll be tossing them in the garbage.”

The young man nodded and said, “Well, you’re going to need a lot more of these. I’m here from Pittsburg visiting with my mother - and there are nine ladies in there who will really want these too.”

“NINE ladies?” I asked. “Yup, my sisters. They are from all over the country.”

I thought I’d better get cracking if I needed nine more of these. I had to slow myself down because I felt I was getting sloppy, and I didn’t want that to be Hope Hospice’s image.

It seemed as soon as I had one made, someone appeared at the table to talk and to receive the newly completed “fly” – I didn’t feel I could ignore anyone, so I continued to hand out the “flies.” It took about an hour and a half to complete all nine.

It’s funny, I’m used to working alone in a silent room – never even putting on the radio. I find that disturbs my work. But at Hope Hospice, I enjoy the conversing as much as the crafting. A lot of it is really listening and inserting an appropriate comment or question on my part.

In Memorium: Sherry Myatt (pictured here with her husband Jack) created these beautiful business card size magnets at Hope Hospice House HealthPark for many years. She volunteered at the Ding Darling preserve and the Chamber of Commerce as well as Hope Hospice. We are grateful to her for sharing her many talents, and she will truly be missed.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Rainbow Trails Camp Reunion: Healing hearts of grieving children

At Hope's Rainbow Trails Camp reunion, 18 children reconnected with their counselors and fellow campers for a night of camp slide shows, refreshments and games. During the event, parents and guardians participated in a support group to further their healing.

The reunion is held three months after the annual Rainbow Trails Camp – an October weekend filled with recreation, crafts, swimming and singing, along with activities to help children better understand the grieving process and learn skills to cope with loss.