Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Cuba

Name: Jane Cuba

How long have you been a volunteer?
20 years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
Home care, bakes shortbread for weekly teas, cooks with husband Mike at the holiday events, Tree of Life, and knits lap-robes for patients and the We Honor Veterans program.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Angela Hospice took care of my father 21 years ago. I am the original weenie. I am not the nurse type. I’m squeamish. I thought that there was no way I could do this, but my father built his own house and that’s where he wanted to be, he wanted to be in his home. Angela Hospice helped me keep him in his home.

The night he died I had a fire in the fireplace because I know he loved that and made popcorn. It was as good as it could be. He was where he wanted to be. Dorothy Mekaru was the social worker. She was a volunteer for years and years. She was my social worker and she was so wonderful that I remember her name 20 years later. The hospice people helped me do what my father wanted. For that, I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll give back for a year,” and now its 20 years later.

Jane knits lap-robes for patients.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
For many patients, their families have heard their stories 100 times before. I haven’t heard those stories. I get to be truly, genuinely interested. I’m not faking it. I really am interested and that’s wonderful. That’s a gift to them and a gift to me to hear these stories and hear about their lives. It’s very special.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I was sent out for a one-time assignment during a frigid winter that was way north of Bloomfield. I get there and they had a bird. At one point I got the patient to the bathroom, and I look and the bird is on the floor of its cage. I thought, “Oh no, the bird is dead. What am I going to do?” So I get the patient back from the bathroom and I’m blocking the cage hoping she doesn’t notice. She never did notice.

I called the family that night and said, “I’m just so sorry about your bird.” And they said, “There’s no problem. The bird just plays dead.” I’m thinking, no, I’m a hospice volunteer, I know dead. Sure enough, the bird would do that. The bird would play dead!

At the funeral a number of weeks later I said something about the bird and I was so sorry. They told me the bird was fine, nothing was wrong with the bird. Plus, the patient had no attachment to the bird. It was the daughter’s bird from college or something. So the patient wouldn’t have cared anyway.

So yes, the bird story sticks with me.

Art Van Charity Challenge: Bonus Challenge #2

There will be a new bonus challenge each week.
Today we are heading into the second week of the Art Van Charity Challenge! For those that don’t know this challenge is a five-week online fundraising competition where we are one of 124 charities competing to get into the top ten. Each of the top ten will receive bonus grants from Art Van, ranging from $7,500 to $75,000. Bonus: all of this money will go directly to help support our compassionate bereavement services, which are provided free-of-charge to all those in need.

One of the many unique aspects of this challenge is that each week will have a weekly bonus challenge. Last week, each charity that raised at least $250 was entered for a chance to win $3,500.

The second bonus challenge starts today at 2 p.m. and will run until next Tuesday, June 2, at 11:59 a.m. This week’s challenge is to raise the most money in that time period. The charity that does will receive $4,000. It’s that simple.

So please donate, become a fundraiser (more about that below), and share our link to every single person you know.

If you’re interested in becoming a fundraiser, click here.

If you want more information about what the Art Van Charity Challenge is, click here.

We would like to say thank you to all that have showed support; whether through donating, sharing our page, or becoming a fundraiser!

If you have any questions please contact our campaign coordinators:
Dana Casadei: (734) 953-6053 or Dcasadei@angelahospice.us
Lisa Norton: (734) 953-6008 or Lnorton@angelahospice.us

Volunteer Spotlight: Samantha Best

Name: Samantha Best

How long have you been a volunteer?
Almost a year.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
Patient care in the Care Center, events, and holiday meals.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
My mom (Volunteer Services Manager Syndie Best) is honestly probably the biggest reason why I’m here. I took the volunteer training class and she was just really encouraging and the rest is history. Now I’m here.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
The relationships that you are able to build with the patients and also the other volunteers and staff members here. They have inspired me and made me a better person. I continue to grow and I’m so grateful for the people that I’ve met here.

Samantha and her sister, Emily,
at last fall's Walk of Remembrance.
What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
There are two big ones. For one of the holiday meals there was a patient that I worked with on Saturday mornings in the Care Center and her family all lives out of town so she was going to go by herself. I asked her if it would be OK if I went with her. I was kind of her family for the night. It was incredible to see all that she’s been through in her life. She has an extraordinary story, and having the honor of being able to just listen to her and get to know her better was incredible. I’m very grateful for that.

The next one there was a World War II veteran that I was working with and his wife wanted a scrapbook of some pictures from when he was in the war. I got to sit next to him at his bed and he was flipping through the scrapbook and telling me stories. I’m like, that’s crazy -- how many people can say that they’ve done that, especially kids my age. It was incredible.

Tips for Art Van Charity Challenge Fundraisers

The Art Van Charity Challenge has officially begun and we have until June 22 to raise as much money as we can for Angela Hospice. If you’re looking at this page we would like to say thank you for considering becoming a fundraiser for the Angela Hospice team. Below are some tips on how to set-up a page and get the most out of your account.

How to Set-Up a Page:
  1. Go to our Charity Challenge CrowdRise page here: https://www.crowdrise.com/ahhc-artvan2015
  2. Click “Fundraise for this Campaign,” which is under the DONATE button.
  3. Then choose whether you want to sign up via social media, email or by creating a CrowdRise account.
  4. Next, you’ll have to enter a password and your birthday. When you hit “Create Account” it will take you back to our Challenge page. (You should notice a picture of yourself in the upper right corner.)
  5. Click “Join The Team” in red and you’ll be all set.

Sharing Your Page:
The “Manage Campaign” button is where your individual link will be to share with friends and family. This page also has links to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. If you prefer using email over social media, CrowdRise has set up a sample email to send.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Account:
  1. Upload a photo (which CrowdRise will automatically do if you sign up via social media) and your story of why Angela Hospice is so important to you.  The more heartwarming your story the more likely you are to get donations. You can also set-up a goal and watch as it grows throughout the competition. Do this by clicking the “Edit Fundraiser” button.
  2. Don’t be afraid to post about the Challenge often -- we recommend once a week. The more often you post about the Challenge the more likely people will donate to your fundraiser page.

Help Angela Hospice win $75,000!

Click here to visit our Art Van Charity Challenge page.
We are excited to announce that Angela Hospice was chosen to take part in the Art Van Charity Challenge. This movement has already done so much for good causes throughout the community. We are delighted to be a part of it, and now you can be too – whether by joining us as a fundraiser and sharing your passion for Angela Hospice with your friends, or by simply making a donation  on Angela Hospice’s page. Read below for details.

What the Art Van Charity Challenge Is: Since 2009 Art Van Furniture has held this challenge to help non-profits that focus on supporting children, health, and human services. It began as a way to celebrate Art Van Furniture’s 50th anniversary and has grown exponentially over the last several years, raising millions of dollars for charity.

The challenge officially begins at noon on May 18 and will end on June 22 at 1:59:59 p.m.  During those five weeks the goal is to raise as much money as we can to hopefully become one of the top ten charities, each of which then receives a bonus grant from Art Van Furniture that ranges from $7,500 for tenth place to $75,000 for first. Of course all the money raised goes directly to Angela Hospice programs.

How you can help: Clicking that donate button is a great way to help us but you can also become a fundraiser and reach out to your entire network. By doing this we can spread the word even further and raise even more money.

How to become a fundraiser: First, click here and then click “Fundraise for this Campaign.” Setting up a profile is easy and shouldn’t take more than five minutes. All you have to do is sign up with an email or through a social media account, like Facebook or Twitter. Then add some personal touches to your profile, like your picture. Add your story of why Angela Hospice is so important to you and your family. You can even set a personal goal and watch as it grows. The more heartwarming your story the more likely you are to get donations.

When the challenge starts on May 18 share your fundraiser page with everyone you know (and we mean everyone) to start raising money. As a fundraiser you will become part of the Angela Hospice Art Van Charity Challenge team and be displayed on our challenge page.

Here are some tips about becoming a fundraiser.

How this benefits Angela Hospice: Any money that is raised through CrowdRise goes directly to Angela Hospice and helps fund our programs. Plus, there are opportunities to receive weekly bonus grants, which we will tell you about as they happen each week. And, as mentioned above, if we are one of the top ten charities we will receive a grant from Art Van on top of the fundraising money we receive.

Whether you contribute $10 or $1,000 your help will enable Angela Hospice to continue providing the exceptional kind of care and services we have offered for the last 30 years. Thank you so much for participating in support of our cause!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the challenge.
Lisa Norton: (734) 953-6008 or Lnorton@angelahospice.us
Dana Casadei: (734) 953-6053 or Dcasadei@angelahospice.us

Volunteer Spotlight: Janet Conway

Name: Janet Conway

How long have you been a volunteer?
Since 2001.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
Works the caregiver dinners, does mailings and clerical work, and was a hostess for Arbor Day.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Like many people we were affected by hospice, not Angela Hospice, but another hospice helped me with my mother, and I was inspired by that. Then I retired in 2000 and flunked retirement and wanted to do something else. I wanted to do something meaningful.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
It’s a good feeling to know you are contributing and giving back, but the social aspect is always nice too. I do like that.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
The only time that I did a home visit was when I was in the volunteer office and they were looking for somebody who knew how to play chess. I know how to play chess and I hadn’t played in a long time but it was still a beautiful moment. I did go to this home visit where the patient wanted to play chess with somebody. I did my best and he so appreciated that, even though he was very sick and we really didn’t finish the game, he kind of fell asleep. That experience just really shows what opportunities can pop up with volunteering. That was my favorite moment that stands out.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Best

Name: Jim Best

How long have you been a volunteer?
Nine years

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
He has filled bird feeders; worked in spiritual care, home care, and hospitality; cooked at holiday meals and weekend BBQs; and taken photographs at events.

(“My main thing is security detail for the volunteer manager. I do whatever she needs,” Jim joked. Jim's wife is Angela Hospice Volunteer Services Manager, Syndie Best.)

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Volunteering has always been important to our family and we’ve volunteered at a lot of different community things, like Salvation Army. We’re always trying to find something local. Then when Syndie started working here it was kind of a nice thing to be involved in something that she was doing, something the whole family could do.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
It’s been cool to have my wife and I start volunteering and having our kids see what we’re doing. Now, not only have we gotten to impact patients’ families but two out of my three children, as they got old enough, went through the training class and have been volunteering here. I think that’s the cool thing to have them sort of catch the bug. One of our family values is to try to make the world a better place and I think that’s something that we’ve seen we can do in kind of a small way here.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
Last year when I was doing my first BBQ, there was a particular patient who sent back their hot dog at least four times until it was like charred and charcoal. They finally just told me to throw it on the coals and leave it there and forget about it. That’s what they had a hankering for. Sure enough, once I thought it should just be thrown out they were pleased as punch and got to die with dignity eating their charred, burnt-beyond-recognition hot dog. It was cool to be able to meet that kind of person where that was important to them. It was cool to be able to fulfill that.

A Hand To Hold

By: Kate McNamara, Angela Hospice Volunteer

As she sat down to talk about her experiences as an Angela Hospice volunteer, Judi Fortuna smiled in the direction of her grandsons, seated at a nearby table in the food court.

Judi has been a volunteer at Angela Hospice for over 11 years. She works in the bereavement department making calls to family members 10 days and 15 days after their loss of a loved one to offer support and services, and most of all, to let them know she and Angela Hospice remember and care. She helps with the memorial services held at the Care Center and has worked at the Walk of Remembrance. On Friday afternoons, she’s at the Care Center helping patients with meal assistance.

Judi speaking at a memorial service.
Her face lights up at the thought of taking a patient out for some fresh air on the beautiful grounds now that warmer weather is here again.

Judi is a Patient Services Coordinator with ALS of Michigan. Her father received hospice care at the end of his life so she knew its value. Her work with ALS patients prompted her to want to learn more about hospice. So, she made her way to Angela Hospice and became a volunteer.

“It is an honor to be with people at the end of life, to help their families, to hold their hands. It‘s very humbling,” said Judi.

She commented that it’s common in our culture to be fearful of death. But, she said, “We’re all terminal. The quality of fear doesn’t need to be there.”

At Angela Hospice, she has observed what honestly and compassionately facing the issue of death can mean. She has seen families pull together. She has seen how people can “die gracefully and peacefully.”

Judi’s own family has borne the sorrow and challenges of the terminal illness of her niece, a young mother. Her time at Angela Hospice gave Judi the practical ability to be a source of help and information for her niece and their entire family. She assisted her niece with medical, emotional and spiritual issues. Experience taught her that hospice can bring peace to patients and their families and she is grateful she was able to impart that to her own.

For people unfamiliar with Angela Hospice, Judi talks about the staff and describes them as “the most compassionate, caring, understanding people. They are in the right work.”

Between her own work with ALS of Michigan and volunteering at Angela Hospice, being married to Ron, being mother to adult children Renee and Bret as well as a grandmother, Judi is happy to find time to exercise, meet with friends, entertain, and travel.

When asked if she has a motto, she doesn’t hesitate before replying: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

As she prepared to rejoin her grandsons, Judi reflected, “When I decided to volunteer, I wasn’t sure if it was right for me. But after 11 plus years, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It is so nice to know you can make a difference in people’s lives.”

Angela Hospice is blessed to have among its volunteers, Judi Fortuna, who simply says that in life, “I like to help people whatever way I can.” And she does.

A Mother's Day Tribute

Mother's Day is May 8th. You can honor the women in your life with a special tribute card from Angela Hospice. When you make a donation in her name, we will provide her with an attractive card letting her know of your thoughtful gift. Cards for donations made “in memory” are also available.

It's a great gift for the woman who has everything  and it will help others to experience Angela Hospice's compassionate care. To order a special Mother’s Day tribute card, contact the Angela Hospice Development Office at (734) 464-7810. 
For “In Honor” Cards:
Dear [Acknowledgee],
A special donation has been made in your honor by [Donor Name].
This gift is both a tribute to you, and a way through
which more people will be able to receive hospice’s loving care.
Margot Parr, President & CEO,
and the Staff of Angela Hospice

For “In Memory” Cards:
Dear [Acknowledgee],
A special donation has been made 
in memory of [Memorial Name] by [Donor Name].
This gift is both a tribute to your loved one, and a way through
which more people will be able to receive hospice’s loving care.
Margot Parr, President & CEO,
and the Staff of Angela Hospice