Patient & Family Stories
On November 19, the Patient and Family program got a call
from a hospital's Cancer Navigator about a 38-year old
patient. This young woman, with no family, had been battling
breast cancer for five years, and the cancer was now in her lung and
brain. She had no support and needed someone to take her home
from the hospital and transportation for her scheduled radiation
appointments, which were to start right away.
Hospice Caring went to the hospital immediately to meet
her. Her smile was contagious, and she could not believe that we
were there to support her. Transportation was provided for all
her scheduled radiation treatments, and a food service was put in
place that would deliver her meals five days a week. We went
with her to see her oncologist to find out what is next for her.
She was frightened and tired but was not alone. Many tests still
need to be completed, and we will be with her. Her prognosis is
not good, but she is a fighter and whatever she decides, she
knows that someone cares and will share her journey. Hospice
Caring is the only organization that can be called to support
this patient and her needs. Our mission is for her, and our
volunteers are honored to share her journey.
challenging to trust in individuals. But I noticed how
gracious and trustworthy the staff of volunteers is….I have
peace of mind every time a volunteer is assisting my wife
while I am at work…You are an excellent and honest steward
of the resources entrusted to you from contributors.”
“Thank you for your loving, compassionate support before and
after my father died. We are really enjoying the delicious
bereavement bread.” (May 2009)
“Nearly all our club members have used your services in the
past, and know the kind, wonderful comfort you and
your volunteers bring to frightened and grieving
hearts.” (March 2009)
“Our family lived in
and our dad was in a nursing home in
HCI called us and kept us updated, listened to our concerns,
and didn’t mind our tears. You were able to locate a
volunteer that was from the small beach town. They made this
most difficult time bearable. Thank you so much. You were a
“We deeply appreciate and wish to thank you for all the
help, comfort, and support you gave to my husband, our
children, and most of all myself. It is very comforting to
know there are people like you….continue helping.”
“Thank you for donating to Hospice Caring in my mother’s
name…I now have experienced Hospice Caring first hand—and
the kindness and dignity they provide the patient and the
family at the end of life is such a valuable service.”
“It was wonderful to know we could count on you for shopping
and running errands when our son was in the hospital. It was
a tremendous help at a difficult time! As you know, our son
completed his last radiation treatment on Thanksgiving and
is doing well now. Thinking about all that he went through
last year is sometimes painful, but we want you to know that
your kind support definitely helped us make it through…Thank
you!” (January 2009)
“Can you believe it has been one year? Time does help the
healing process. Words cannot express my deep appreciation
to you and Hospice Caring for your unconditional support.”
“There is no way to thank you for your wonderful help.
Particular thanks to your volunteers who made an intolerable
situation more bearable.”
“What wonderful people you are to go out of your way for
strangers. God bless you all.”
has been an immense gift in our lives…Bless each one of you
for the beautiful generosity of spirit and your willingness
to be with families at such traumatic times. It’s a great
work you do. With love and gratitude.”
"Dad was too practical a person to ever believe in angels,
but I have seen them and they look like you."
"I truly appreciate all the help you gave to me when I was
so desperate. You helped me more than anyone. Thank you so
“I cannot express how important this was to the family,
because it allowed Dad his most fervent wish, to live out
his final days, and to die, at home.”
“It was only with your ‘caring,’ compassion and support that
we were able to fulfill my Mom’s final wishes.”
Camp Caring Little Buddy
"I learned that our loved ones are always with us even
though it will never be exactly the same again."
"I learned how to express my feelings."
"I liked making the pen in memory of my father. It was like
having my dad looking down on me."
"It is okay to cry or be sad."
"I learned about ways to cope and that other kids have had
loved ones who died."
"I liked having a Big Buddy."
"My Big Buddy helped me to be happy not sad."
Good Grief Club
This story is about one success in our youth bereavement
programs, which are designed for immediate and long-term impact.
In 2002, Amelia’s father died, and, as a grieving and hurting
13-year-old, she joined Hospice Caring’s Good Grief Club. By
sharing their experiences, the teens in her group were able to
support, comfort, and care for each other. Amelia learned that
she will always miss her father, but she also learned something
else….that she could use her experience to help other grieving
In 2004, Amelia lit a candle for her father at our annual
Tree of Love event. In 2005, Amelia helped out as a "Go-For" at
our yearly Camp Caring, a grief camp for 8- to 12-year-olds.
During her junior year of high school, Amelia enlisted the aid
of three of her classmates to sort, inventory, and repack all
the Camp Caring supplies. In the summer of 2006, between her
junior and senior year, Amelia worked as an intern in Hospice Caring’s Children’s Bereavement
Program. For her service,
The Nancy Dworkin Youth Helping Youth Achievement
Award was given to Amelia in the winter of 2006.
From the Students:
"There is nothing good about losing someone you love, but
that doesn’t mean something good can’t come out of it" (14
"I was heard."
"I know now that I am not alone."
"I learned lots of ways to take my grief out."
"I liked talking to other people who had similar
"I learned that it’s bad to take out your stress on other
people or on myself."
"I’ve learned that everybody has their own way of dealing
with this--and that’s okay."
"...you helped me by helping me understand grief."
"I can talk about my aunt and for that I feel happy. I wish
I could stay more in the group because I like the group
because I can talk about my aunt. "
I want to extend the program."
"I wish there could be another group! It made me feel
" I cried so much the first time I came (to the meeting) and
felt really stupid. But now I’m really glad I joined and it
made me feel so much better!"
"They listened to my story about my grandmother."
"Sometimes it feels like a cyclone is going on inside of
"I wonder where I’d be without this group. Oh, I know. I’d
be crying my eyes out all the time - just like I was
From School Counselors:
"Seeing high-school students open their hearts and be
empathic to their fellow students gives hope for now and the
"This was an
extremely well-run group. The facilitator was well-prepared,
and the students responded well to her."
"The facilitator was fantastic!"
Caring Good Grief Club facilitator was great. She showed
great interest in each of the students. She followed through
with me on each one that she had concerns about. She was
flexible with everything and believe me every week there
"I would like to extend our sincere gratitude for your
organization's support during a very difficult year at
This year, several students and one faculty member lost
close relatives. Thanks to [your facilitator] and the Good
Grief Club made possible through Hospice Caring, we were
able to cope with these tremendous losses. [Your
facilitator] was absolutely wonderful, and our students
responded well to her. Each week, the students skipped down
to the guidance office, eager to participate in [her]
lessons. Given the nature of the topics [she] had to cover,
I feel that our student's enthusiasm was a testament to her
sensitivity and dedication."
"The support and affection of these two facilitators and the
group members has been a lifeline for me that I could have
found nowhere else. We are like a family, and it feels
comforting and safe to be with them."
"All the money in the world cannot pay for the wonderful
free services that Hospice Caring
"The support group meetings have helped us tremendously
throughout our grieving process. Without it, we wouldn't be
at the level of coping that we are now."
"Could not have made life these last 10 months without this
"I feel as though I can breathe there."
"The group has helped me realize/identify the feelings I am
having as well as the similarity of all our feelings of
"Helped in countless ways: from the emotional, to the
practical, to the spiritual aspects of grief."
"It has helped me move into the future."
After the death of her father from lung cancer in January,
Gail stayed with her mother for three weeks to help with
paperwork. She returned to her home in
and returned to her normal routine, but in May, severe
mental fatigue hit her. “I could barely function doing
everyday tasks, and I was stuck on the inside. I needed
help,” she says. That’s when she called Hospice Caring and
signed up for the parent loss support group. “I don’t
usually work through feelings by talking. But the
facilitators coaxed me to explore my grief. Week by week, I
loosened grief’s grip on my life. I’ve accepted that the
grief could be with me awhile. Hospice Caring showed me how
to keep moving.” – Gail, 2009
passed away in July of 2005, and she unknowingly gave me the
gift of Hospice Caring. Hospice folks in
asked me if I would like bereavement counseling and provided
me with the names of a couple of places in
Caring was the one that could accommodate me almost
immediately. I still recall how at my first meeting, I sat
attached to a box of tissues on my lap, trying to convey the
full depth of my absolute despair. Life grew less painful
and the weekly sessions I attended not only helped me to
feel better, but to have a much greater intellectual
understanding of grief. Now I co-facilitate adult
bereavement groups because I think I can share some insights
and extend my empathy. Not too long ago I was leaving work
and mentioned to a colleague that I was off to facilitate my
group at Hospice Caring. She responded by saying, "Oh, how
depressing." I was truly startled because it is not at all
how I feel! I find my work in adult bereavement very
grounding and rewarding. It has made me a much better
listener. It helps me put life in perspective.