A Different Kind Of Wish List

Now that the new year has come and gone we at Angela Hospice are gearing up for another year of events. These annual events play a significant role in helping support our organization. Through ticket sales and donations, among other aspects of these events, we are able to continue providing high-quality care to our patients and their loved ones. For our upcoming events we've created a wish list for auction and raffle items, both of which are at many of our events.

Listed below are some items we are hoping for to make our auctions and raffles the best they can be.

  • Are you a frequent flyer? Airline miles or airline tickets are on our list.
  • Destination certificates for vacation homes, rentals, summer vacation spots or golf courses.
  • Tickets to Tigers, Wings, Pistons or the Lions (who might actually make it to the playoffs this year) for Detroit-loving sports fans.
  • If you have a favorite restaurant, donate a giftcard from there.
  • Experience certificates: hot air balloon rides, airplane rides, hang-gliding, horseback riding. Basically any activity you think someone would enjoy.
  • Hotel or spa certificates for a day of pampering.
  • Give the gift of letting someone rock out at a concert. Or donate a meet-and-greet.
  • Specialty food baskets, such as coffee or Italian themed. Yum.
  • Jewelry: necklaces, earrings, bracelets, or perhaps a nice watch.
  • Donations from your dentist, favorite hair or nail salon, chiropractor, etc.

If you see an item that you would like to donate, or have any questions, please contact Angela Hospice Events Coordinator, Helen Balmforth, at (734) 953-6045 or email hbalmforth@angelahospice.net.

Volunteer Spotlight: Georgia Scappaticci

Name: Georgia Scappaticci

How long have you been a volunteer?
Since 1998

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Thursday tea, notary service for home care patients, bereavement, and fundraising.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
To become a volunteer I took the course because I was helping with the fundraising at the beginning in 1998 when we did it at Jacobson's, and Carolyn DiComo asked if I would help chair it with her. So that's how I actually got into it.

I didn't know that much about it (hospice care), and after I learned and got more knowledge about it that's when I thought this is a wonderful place to work with, and just being with the people and trying to help whenever.

Why Angela Hospice?
Transportation-wise it was close. As I said Carolyn DiComo was the one that got me into it to begin with, raising money for Angela Hospice. Then I got to become friends with Sister Giovanni, and the people that were here were almost like family to me.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I love doing the tea, and mixing with the families. When the patients can come down that's really rewarding with the different comments they give. It gets them out of the room…They really, really appreciate it. I've gotten many compliments from them, not that I want a pat-on-the-back or anything. It is very rewarding at a time when they really need something to take their mind off of what they're really here for.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I have several. One that I'll never forget is from a home care patient when I went out. Of course, when you go to home care you never know what the situation is going to be. This lovely man was lying there and we got to talking. He asked me right out, "You know when I die I'll be seeing people up there, is there anyone you want me to talk to?" I thought it was so outstanding that he could think of such humor at this particular time. I said, "Yes, when you go up there you'll see two of my girlfriends who died from smoking, and say, see, see, see!" And we just kind of laughed about it.

Volunteer of the Year: Dave Werton

By Dana Casadei, Angela Hospice Volunteer

When Dave Werton received the Volunteer of the Year award last April, saying he was surprised is an understatement.

Dave with a We Honor Veterans blanket.
"I had no idea, really," he said.

In fact he was tricked into going to the annual volunteer dinner, which he hadn't attended in years. He had been told there would be something for the We Honor Veterans program he's a part of. That didn't happen, and instead he got the night’s top award. And after speaking to Werton it's easy to see why.

"When I first met him I thought he worked here. I thought he was a social worker," laughed Syndie Best, Volunteer Services Manager. "But then I found out he was a volunteer. And that's the thing. He's so unassuming. There's nothing about him that would stand out and go, 'Ta-do, here I am.' He's just not that kind of person."

"I think that's part of the beauty about who he is," she continued. "That he's not showy and it's not about him. He's genuinely very humble and really concerned about the patients."

Dave, who is in the midst of his 20th year of volunteering, was one of Angela Hospice's first volunteers back in 1994. He joined after seeing a story on the front page of the Livonia Observer about the Care Center opening up.

You name it and Dave has probably done it. Bereavement, patient care, and spiritual care are just a few of the areas he's volunteered in. He was even in charge of flowers at one point, he mentioned with a laugh.

Dave has also been responsible for kick-starting programs, including many of the cooking programs.

Dave receiving the Volunteer of the Year award at
last April's annual volunteer dinner.
While he's taken on a leadership role in a variety of areas, Dave doesn't have a problem passing on the reins to newer volunteers.

"If there's something people like to do, I step back and let them take over," he said.

Now most of his focus is volunteering in home care -- his favorite. A large part of that is because Dave enjoys the one-on-one style of home care. And he is always up for taking on patients that have extra challenges.

His up-for-anything mentality has also led to him having a plethora of interesting patient stories. They range from a patient who taught him how to be a better bartender; to one of his first patients, who Dave would hide change in the couch cushions for. Oh, and there's the patient he almost lost in their bed. But that's a story told better in person. Same goes for the baklava story.

So what's made Dave stay all these years? That's easy. The patients.

"I don't really look at them as patients," he said. "They give as much back to me as I give to them."

"The people that get to know him and have him as a volunteer are very lucky," Syndie said. "I hope he sticks around for a long time."

Luckily for Syndie, and future Angela Hospice patients, Dave has no plans on leaving anytime soon.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Serra

Name: Mary Serra

How long have you been a volunteer?
This is her second year

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Clerical, events, gardening, patient and family care, and ice cream socials

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I needed something productive and constructive to do since I've been retired. I tell people volunteering is the best job I've had out of them all, and it's the one I don't even get paid for, but it's the one I enjoy the most.

Why Angela Hospice?
We used their services a little bit for my mom. It was very short-lived, of course. Also, my next-door neighbor is a home health nurse for Angela (Hospice), and I just whole-heartedly believe in what they do for the patients and families as far as end-of-life care. I just think it's a wonderful program.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
My interactions with patients and families. I enjoy that.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
The families. They are so appreciative of the care that they get here, not only the care for their loved ones but how they are treated too.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing...On Your Tree

Can you believe it's already December? Houses are lighting up with colorful lights, presents are being bought, and trees are quickly getting put up. You probably already have your favorite ornaments lined up and ready to go, or hung on the tree. But why not make room for one more?

Now in the Angela Hospice Gift Shop, both in the Care Center and online, are unique clay angel ornaments. Texan artist Jacqueline Thomas exclusively designed these angels for hospice. While intended to be a decorative ornament for the holiday season it can also be given as a keepsake or a memorial for a loved one. The sale of each angel is restricted solely to hospice organizations so you won't be able to find these at your local retailers. Each item is handcrafted by Thomas, individually gift-boxed, and costs $25.

You can also have an angel, or angels if you're really feeling the holiday spirit, shipped for an additional $3 by calling the Development Office at (734) 464-7810.

Gift shop hours: 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Shop online and help Angela Hospice

For those that don't enjoy braving the malls on Black Friday, or the holiday season in general, shopping online is the way to go. You can stay in your PJs, drink as many cups of coffee as you want, and wear your favorite fuzzy slippers. While Cyber Monday is a great day to get some deals, Goodshop Sunday, on November 30, will not only get you some steals but let you give a little to your favorite charity – like Angela Hospice.

Goodshop Sunday is a day packed with exclusive savings and double donations at your favorite stores. Join the thousands of others who have already taken the Goodshop Sunday pledge to buy one gift that gives back with Goodshop this holiday season. And be sure to share it on your social media platforms.

After Goodshop Sunday don't put away your wallet too quickly. Visit Amazon Smile and support Angela Hospice there too. If you visit smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2755767 0.5% of your purchase will be donated to Angela Hospice. Angela Hospice is one of almost a million charities on Amazon Smile so if you don't see us featured be sure to type us into the search bar. Then go crazy buying all the latest Frozen toys, movies, and other hot ticket items this year. Just remember the more you spend the more you help out Angela Hospice. It’s a big win for everyone!

Give on #GivingTuesday

Thanksgiving is a day to spend with family, give thanks, and eat too much turkey. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about getting the best deal for your buck. The following Tuesday, December 2, aka #GivingTuesday, may not have pumpkin pie or a free DVD but it will put you in the giving mood. And isn't that what the holiday season is really all about?

The global day of giving was founded in 2012 by New York's 92nd Street Y, a cultural, educational, and community center that serves people of all ages, races, faiths, and backgrounds, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. #GivingTuesday was inspired by the core Jewish value of tikkun olam, which means, "repairing the world."

The team of influencers and founding partners, which includes CEOs and company presidents among others, has launched a movement that has engaged over 10,000 organizations worldwide.

“On the cusp of this gift-giving season, #GivingTuesday is such a refreshing reminder that the best gifts we give are those which cannot be repaid,” said Bob Alexander, Angela Hospice’s business development manager.

#GivingTuesday brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners - charities, families, businesses, and individuals - to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. The day also uses the power of social media (note the hashtag) to create a global movement around the holidays that is dedicated to giving around the world.

There are a variety of ways to give. Give a boost to a friend in need or give a hand to someone you love. Give your time. Give some money to your favorite charity. Write a wonderful review about the work one of the #GivingTuesday organizations is doing. It doesn't matter how you give on #GivingTuesday, the important part is that you just do.

You can also take an #UNselfie. You get to take a picture of yourself but this time it's for a good cause. Win-win, right?

Just download and print our #UNselfie flyer, fill it out, and then take an #UNselfie. After you're done upload it to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Then be sure to tag Angela Hospice and use the hashtags, #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday. Let us know why you are supporting Angela Hospice on #GivingTuesday. Turn it into a group activity at your holiday events by having your friends and family take pictures of each other. Upload them inbetween bites of pie. Inspire everyone to participate in #GivingTuesday.

“At Angela Hospice, we hope the #GivingTuesday movement will inspire people to take action to improve their local communities, give back to the charities and causes they celebrate, and help create a better world,” said Lisa Norton, Angela Hospice’s public relations coordinator.

Another way to help out the #GivingTuesday movement, and Angela Hospice, would be by donating to this year's Tree of Life event, which will take place through Christmas Eve at Laurel Park Place and Westland Mall. The event, which has been held annually since 1986, offers guests a unique way of honoring their loved ones, both living and deceased, in the form of an angel ornament bearing their name.

“Walking past these glorious trees each year, it is hard not to be deeply touched by the ornamental beauty of the decorations,” Alexander said. “But it’s the enduring love of those who thought to place the ornaments inscribed with names or people who have been so dearly remembered and cherished that truly shines.”

To participate in this holiday tradition, please fill out a form online at askforangela.com or visit a Tree of Life during mall hours to personally hang your ornaments. There is no specific donation amount required.

Learn more at givingtuesday.org, or visit askforangela.com. For more information, or to fill out an angel form by phone, contact the Development Office at (734) 464-7810.

Volunteer Spotlight: Vickie Krause

Name: Vickie Krause

How long have you been a volunteer?
Three years

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Patient and family care in the Care Center.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
That's really interesting because until I became a volunteer I had no idea Angela Hospice existed or hospice existed. I retired rather unexpectedly from teaching and then found myself praying, "Now what do I do?" I kept saying, "Please use my talents." Doors just started opening and it led me here. It's just amazing. Absolutely amazing, and it is a wonderful fit. I am blessed beyond belief.

Why Angela Hospice?
I think that's one of the doors (that opened). I read the Observer periodically and for some reason I saw an ad or something about needing volunteers. So I called and one thing led to the other. I went through the classes and it was just absolutely amazing. My eyes were open. Wow.

What is your favorite part about volunteering? 
That's really tough. I think it's probably dual. I enjoy sitting with family members and just listening because some just need to talk. I also enjoy listening to the patients because they all have a story to tell. I'm just enthralled by listening to what they have to say.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
Well there's one that kind of stands out immediately. One of the patients celebrated a 100th birthday and I got to be part of that, and it was pretty special. That doesn't happen every day. That would probably be one of the standout moments.

I would say overall the thing that has just touched me is the people here. It's such a happy place. That surprised me. It surprises everyone else in public when you tell them about volunteering at hospice and they go, "Oh, I couldn't do that." It's a happy place and just the respect and dignity that's shown to the patients…it's awesome. Absolutely awesome.

A Home Away From Home

By: Dana Casadei, Angela Hospice volunteer

November for many is the month with Thanksgiving. For some, it's the month when it's finally time to put up their holiday decorations. But for the hospice community, November is a time to raise awareness.

Started in 1992, long after the first Thanksgiving, November became the National Hospice and Palliative Care month. The number of hospices in the United States has speedily grown since the first hospice was founded in 1974. That includes Livonia’s Angela Hospice, which was founded 11 years later in 1985.

In 2013 more than 1.5-million patients received services from one of 5,800 hospices nationwide. Angela Hospice served 1,760 of those patients.

While the numbers for 2014 haven't been totaled yet, Agnes Chor's husband John was one of this year's many patients that received care.

During his one month and three days in the Angela Hospice Care Center, Agnes spent nearly every night with him, making it a home away from home.

"I was grateful they would let me spend the night with him," she said. "I ate a lot of meals there."

She even brought her red slippers from their Livonia home and noted that she could do anything there that she could at home. That included watching movies and walking around the "absolutely beautiful" grounds she said.

Staying at the Care Center almost every night allowed Agnes to see what really happens behind the closed doors of Angela Hospice.

"They (the staff) were good to everybody," she said. "It wasn't because I was there that they were on their best behavior. They just did what came natural to them and they were excellent."

Sorry, no dirty secrets to be revealed here.

After taking care of her husband at home for five years John was moved into a home. Agnes said that he had been in three or four within a year and a half. She also said that Angela Hospice was the best of the group.

"It was like family was taking care of my husband," she said. "It was like they considered him their family. So it was their job to take care of him. I just thought it was fantastic. I loved it."

Being in such a warm environment surrounded by caring people also took some of the stress off of Agnes. She said that the nurses were so good at checking on their patients and that bed sores John had acquired previously were gone within weeks of arriving at the Care Center. She also said that the staff took just as good of care of her as her husband.

When asked what she may say to someone that had misconceptions about hospice care, Agnes simply said she would definitely recommend hospice.

“I would recommend Angela Hospice to anybody, everybody,” she said.

“The number one comment we receive from families is that they wish they had chosen hospice sooner,” said Mary Beth Moning, Interim President/CEO of Angela Hospice. “National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is a great time to spread awareness about all that hospice has to offer for patients and their families – the compassionate physical care, the supportive spiritual, emotional, and social work services; and the grief support available to families and the community.”