Shaping the Legacy of Dying People

There are a variety of ways we can help those who are facing death. The following article highlights how Courtney Strain was able to leave a legacy to her family before she died at age 25 from brain cancer.

Helping A Loved One Face The End Of Life

One of the things Courtney Strain left behind was this simple guide for the family and friends of people who are dying. Here are some of the things she wanted people to know:

Hallmark doesn’t fix it all. … Write a letter or send an email. … [Talk to me when] I’m strong enough to sit and laugh or cry with you …

Don’t pretend that everything is going to be OK.

Don’t abandon me at my most vulnerable time. … Sit and pray with me. Don’t just pray for me.

Don’t treat me like a child — even a well-loved child. … Include me in decisions that affect our family or social group …

Instead of asking, “What can I do for you?” offer some concrete suggestions — like bringing a meal or treat, or running errands …

Respect my decisions about my health care — my doctors, my medications and my treatments — and about my end-of-life plans …

Just because I’m dying doesn’t mean I’m any less capable of being your friend. Dying isn’t my whole identity.

Credit: “What You Can Do When A Friend (Like Me) Faces The End Of Life,” BJC Palliative Home Care and Hospice

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We Honor Veterans

Do you know a veteran who may need Hospice Care?  The We Honor Veterans” partnership with Hospice organizations around the country is providing a wonderful service for Walt Banko of Yakima.

“I was put on chemo and did that for four or five days,” said Banko, an 87-year-old widower. “After the first day, I got so sick I could hardly handle it. I wasn’t going to take another (round). Period. I don’t want to live that way.”

That’s when Banko’s doctor helped the World War II veteran enroll in Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s hospice program, which had joined the national “We Honor Veterans” campaign in January.

“We Honor Veterans” is a partnership between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Together, they’re inviting hospices, state hospice organizations and others to collaborate to better educate and serve veterans in need of hospice care.

Read the entire article at: WWII Veteran Finds Friend for the End

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Hospice Volunteer Training

Do you know someone who would like to offer comfort,  a reassuring presence, and  support for our Hospice patients or Transitions clients?

Invite them to attend the upcoming Memorial Hospice volunteer training (4 evenings).

When: April 5th, 7th, 12th and 14th
Where: Home Care Office, 1019 S. 40th Avenue, Yakima
Time: 6:00pm-9:00pm

Since we are under the umbrella of Memorial Hospital, it is important to adhere to their guidelines. Those interested in volunteering  can complete the volunteer application online: then click on ‘Join the Team’, ‘Volunteer Opportunities’ and lastly ‘Volunteer application.

Contact Dottie Hildebrand at 509-574-3655 or for more information.

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Cottage In The Meadow Update

Art and Joanne Hall challenged us to raise $1 million dollars and they would match it. We’ve met the match and exceeded it! With the match we have raised 4.4 million dollars. Eight hundred and seventy-seven people contributed toward the whole campaign.

With a total campaign goal of $6 million we need to reach at least $5 million to begin construction. In order to reach our target to commence construction this Summer, we still need to raise $600,000.

Anne Caffery, CEO of The Memorial Foundation said that the Halls “are THRILLED —-so much so that they even raised the cap on the million-dollar match. They will not only match everything donated so far, but anything and everything we bring in this January, even if it’s another half million dollars.”

Home Care will be having a celebration in the next few weeks – and you will all be invited to attend. I’ll keep you posted!!! Thank you so much for all your help and assistance during this busy last year. We look forward to exciting times ahead!!

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November – National Hospice Month

Make plans to join in the National Hospice Month activities planned for the Yakima area:
Tuesday, Nov 2 ~ Celebration of Life at Harman Senior Center ~ 5:30 – 7:30 pm ~ Free

Wednesday, Nov 3 ~ It’s About How You Live at Seasons Performance Hall ~ Lecture, Luncheon, and a copy of Life is a Verb ~ 12:30 pm ~ cost $100

Wednesday, Nov 3 ~ Life is a Verb Community Inspirational Event at The Seasons Performance Hall ~ 7:00 – 8:30 pm ~ Free, limited seating

Thursday-Friday, Nov 11-12 ~ Hospice Volunteer Training ~ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm ~ Free

Proceeds go to support Cottage in the Meadow, a peaceful home-away-from-home for hospice patients and their families for those unable to stay at home.

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November is National Hospice Month

Here are several volunteer opportunities occuring during National Hospice Month.

The benefit luncheon for Cottage in the Meadow at Seasons on November 3 (11:30-2:30): setting-up; serving lunch; cleaning-up.

Cottage in the Meadow employee event at the Memorial Cafe on November 3 (2:30-4:15): cut and serve cake.

Life is a Verb, community inspirational event at Seasons on November 3 (7:00-8:30 pm): book sales help.

Celebration of Life at Harman Center on November 2 (5:30 – 7:30 pm): address invitations; contribute appetizers, finger food, desserts, baked goods, salads, etc.; greet guests; room set-up; room clean-up; input data.

Information about National Hospice Month will be included with your October newsletter. If you are unable to volunteer, you are encouraged to attend any/all of the upcoming events.

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Yard Sale Success!

The Yard Sale to benefit Cottage in the Meadow was a huge success! 

  • $4,015.00 raised (funds are still coming in), with the Fairweather matching fund* that translates to $8,030.00 !!
  • Thank you to our 43 volunteers (including some teens) who organized the yard sale, presorting and pricing, transporting stuff, and providing food & beverages.
  • Thank you to everyone who donated items, volunteered their time & talents and shopped at the sale.

*   The Fairweather Foundation has offered a $1 million dollar gift as a challenge to raise an additional $1 million dollars by December 31, 2010, in support of the building fund for the hospice care facility, Cottage in the Meadow. All new cash gifts over $1,000 will be matched when they are paid to The Memorial Foundation for the Hospice Building Fund.

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Letting Go (What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?)

The latest New Yorker magazine contains a fascinating article discussing the differences between general medical care and hospice care. Atul Gawande, a general surgeon, invested his time to understand what people with terminal conditions really want and need. He explores what does and doesn’t work for dying patients. An excerpt follows. For the entire article go to

“One basic mistake is conceptual. For doctors, the primary purpose of a discussion about terminal illness is to determine what people want – whether they want chemo or not, whether they want to be resuscitated or not, whether they want hospice or not. They focus on laying out the facts and the options. But that’s a mistake, Block [a palliative-care specialist] said.

“A large part of the task is helping people negotiate the overwhelming anxiety – anxiety about death, anxiety about suffering, anxiety about loved ones, anxiety about finances, she explained. There are many worries and real terrors. No one conversation can address them all. Arriving at an acceptance of one’s mortality and a clear understanding of the limits and the possibilities of medicine is a process, not an epiphany.”   


Remember to bring your items for the August 21 Yard Sale to the Home Care office (1019 S. 40th Ave) Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm OR on August 7 and 14th (Saturdays) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

For information on how you can help with the Yard Sale contact Clarvine Van Epps (457-5340) or Dottie Hildebrand (574-3655).

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Keep these dates in mind!

Volunteer Meeting: Monday, June 28, 2010, 3:00 – 4:30 PM at Memorial Education Center.  Mitzi Casey will be educating volunteers on interactive styles.

Health Fair: Saturday, July 17, 2010, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Sundome. Can you volunteer for a shift? Contact Dottie about helping promote the Hospice program.

Yard Sale Date: Saturday, August 21, 2010 at the Hospice Office. Proceeds go toward Cottage in the Meadow and will be matched by the Hall’s matching fund. Consider donating good used items for the sale. Help in sorting and pricing will be needed. Drop off times TBA (next door to Hospice office). Sign-up sheet will be available at the June 28th Volunteer meeting.

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Trees for Cottage in the Meadow

Volunteers planted 200 trees at the future site of Cottage in the Meadow on June 5, 2010. An inspiring ceremony followed the planting. Some of the speakers were Dr. Dan Doornink, Memorial Hospital’s CEO, Rick Linneweh, Mayor Micah Cawley, and the Hospice Chaplain, Laurie Oswalt.

Art and Joanne Hall were introduced and gave us the challenge to match their $1 million gift by December 31, 2010. Thank you to our many hospice volunteers who served refreshments, planted trees, directed traffic, performed in the band and organized us!

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