Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Honor Of Transitions

I've been putting out the call for Spirit of Service stories (explained here). Crystal Reiber, of both Acting Center Northwest and the movie-industry KNIFVES group, emailed back a great suggestion. Talk about the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho hospice group, she said. They turn down no one, regardless of finances. That impressed me. Death and dying is a long process, and the accompanying grief can debilitate for a very long time. The last thing some people can do is think about, much less pay, the money it takes to meet the overwhelming needs that arise when a loved one is dying.

I called the hospice to find out more and talked to Cindy Shannon, director of community outreach for the organization. Guess what? It's all true.

Hospice of North Idaho (HONI) is a nonprofit group, in business since 1981 (before hospice care was routine), and is available to serve whoever needs the help. And here's the amazing-synchronicity part. As luck would have it, the Hospice is having its Annual Wine Tasting and Auction FUNDRAISER this coming Saturday, February 7, at 5 p.m., at the Hayden Lake Country Club (parking is at Hayden Meadows Elementary School at 900 East Hayden Avenue in Hayden, with shuttles to the event beginning at 4:45). So it was perfect timing for me to contact them today. I think we should all attend if we can.

I feel strongly that hospice services in all communities are invaluable. How did we survive without them before, if only for the outpouring of information from people with shared experiences? We must have just limped along. When my grandmother was dying, it made a huge difference to have hospice people available. It takes an extraordinary kind of person - volunteer or otherwise - to be willing to share that kind of grief with another. And it matters so much to people who need the help. So thank you, Hospice of North Idaho, for providing a place for people to turn, a way for people to release their grief, a person who is willing to share that grief - not out of guilt, but out of complete commitment.... whose heart will break a little bit, too, as these very personal stories are shared.

Below I discuss HONI's SERVICES first, and then the FUNDRAISER.

SERVICES: This nonprofit, in business since 1981, has a comprehensive bereavement team that works with between 50 and 70 children a month who have lost their loved ones; has a camp in the summer for the kids; does work in the middle schools and groups for the children, and has mens and womens groups and luncheons as well. There is a lot of one-on-one counseling available, regardless of ability to pay. The hospice program itself is separate, and is for persons with a limited life expectancy. The team includes specially trained nurses, aides, social workers and physicians. A retired clergyman is the spiritual care person. Oftentimes these professionals make home visits, depending on the clients' needs. There is even access to a physical therapist and speech therapist. The physicians have formal training in pallitive care (the in-between state where hospice is not yet needed but the patient is choosing not to have a lot of treatment either). The group heavily depends on volunteers too. It has over 100 volunteers who volunteer at either the office or directly with clients. It also has volunteers staffing the thrift stores in both Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls. For those of you who have been looking for a way to volunteer, hospice volunteering is one great choice.

Now to the FUNDRAISER: This sounds like fun. (People who have attended before, please post comments of encouragement after this post!) Apparently it will be impossible to taste all the wonderful wines for the wine-tasting part because there will be so many to choose from. As for the auction, you can bid on things like artwork by local artists; a fly fishing trip to Alaska (!!); a bedroom set donated by Koerner Furniture; a "puppy package" of free vet visit(s) and other start-up amenities (with puppy included!); beautiful jewelry donated by Clark's Jewelry; etc. It begins at 5 p.m. Cost is $100 (with $70 of that being deductible). Parking is at Hayden Elementary School (as mentioned above). For more information, call the Hospice at (208) 772-7994. If you can't make it to the fundraiser, perhaps there are other ways you can help out. It's a worthy cause.

(I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the work at Hospice of Spokane as well. Details will be shared some other time, but HOS also has an outstanding program, also is a nonprofit, and has a new Hospice House that is set up to accommodate eight families.)

1 comment:

Cindy Shannon said...

Beth, thank you for the nice words. We are community supported and this blog is a great avenue that we haven't ever used to talk about Hospice of North Idaho. Thank-you!