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.