Volunteer Spotlight: Jeannie Maciejewski

Name: Jeannie Maciejewski

How long have you been a volunteer?
Two-and-a-half years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Patient care in the Care Center and the ice cream socials.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
When my grandfather was ill quite a few years ago we were kind of in dire straits. He had just come in from Texas and it was home care. Angela Hospice was just so kind and so helpful and so wonderful in every aspect that I thought, that’s a nice place.

Then a few years later I had the opportunity and I was like, I’m going to volunteer over there. Angela Hospice just kind of stuck in my mind.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Helping out with the patients, the CNAs, and the nurses. Just working with the patients, doing whatever I can.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
There’s quite a few of them. Just the hugs you get from the patients’ families and they say, “You were here at the right time.”

I know how they feel because I’ve been through it. That’s kind of the best part for me, when they make comments like that.

Help Angela Hospice While You Shop

You can raise money for Angela Hospice while you shop.
Did you know there are multiple ways to help Angela Hospice while you shop? Check out how below.

Kroger: If you are a Kroger Plus Card member you can help Angela Hospice earn rewards when you shop, as part of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. The program provides financial support to non-profits based on the money spent at Kroger stores by members enrolled in the program.

Before you can help raise funds for Angela Hospice there are a few simple steps:
  1. Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account at krogercommunityrewards.com
  2. Once signed up, click on your account in the upper right hand corner. Then scroll to the bottom of the page, where you can edit your Community Rewards information.
  3. Enter our NPO number: 93845 or find Angela Hospice on the list provided. To verify you’re enrolled correctly you will see Angela Hospice’s name in your account under Community Rewards.
Amazon Smile: If online shopping is more your speed visit Amazon Smile to support Angela Hospice. Use this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-2755767 before you start shopping on Amazon and 0.5% of your purchase will be donated to Angela Hospice. This is the same Amazon you know and love, but this way you’ll be helping us out too. Just remember the more you spend the more you help out Angela Hospice. It’s a big win for everyone!

Goodshop: Goodshop is a bit like using Amazon Smile, except the amount donated to Angela Hospice varies depending on which store you shop from. Go to www.goodsearch.com/choosecause and search for Angela Hospice in the search bar. Once selected, feel free to browse Goodshop for steals and deals at over 30,000 stores. Happy shopping!

Annual Walk of Remembrance Becomes Tradition for Many

Judith (second from right) has attended every walk
since 2010.
Have you ever had a moment where you knew that you were exactly where you were supposed to be? That’s how Judith Halpert felt when she arrived at the Angela Hospice Walk of Remembrance in 2010.

“The minute I showed up to the first one I said, ‘This is the place I need to be,’” Judith said. “And I need to be there every year now because it’s sort of like a tradition for me.”

That tradition began thanks to a friend, whose father had been under Angela Hospice care in 2009, suggesting Judith and her husband come to the walk. While many Walk of Remembrance participants, like Judith’s friend, have had a loved one receive Angela Hospice care, Judith hasn’t. That isn’t to say she hasn’t dealt with loss though. Over a 13-month period Judith lost her mother, her father, and her mother-in-law.

“I think of my parents every day but on that day in particular,” she said. “Good things happen that give you peace of mind, peace of heart. They uplift your spirit. I love it.”

Judith said she was extremely impressed with not only the staff and volunteers at that first walk but other walkers as well.

“Everybody is in a different stage of grief, but everybody is out there walking and remembering the good times and not forgetting,” Judith said. “Even if they’re sad, they are moving.”

Judith also mentioned the Felician Sisters’ grounds, where the 2.3-mile walk takes place, and how calming they are to walk through. She likes to get there a little early to take it all in, and just be a part of the crowd.

Even though Judith mainly walks in memory of her mom and dad, she said every year it seems like there are always a few more people to walk in memory of, including her best friend from high school who had brain cancer, and her sister-in-law’s father who died this year. Judith doesn’t have a walk team but she does urge others she knows to participate. This year she sent out an email to encourage her family to participate in the walk since it has been such an uplifting day for her and her husband.

“You know you can handle anything after that walk,” she said.

Since the tradition began, Judith plans on coming to the Walk of Remembrance for many years to come, even if somewhere down the line she can’t walk.

“Then maybe somebody will push me,” she laughed.

8th Annual Walk of Remembrance

Date: Saturday, September 19

Time: Registration begins at 9 a.m., opening ceremony at 10 a.m.

Where: Madonna University, 36600 Schoolcraft Road, Livonia, MI 48150

Cost: $25 in advance for adults (increases to $35 after Sept. 4); $15 for children ages 6-12; free for kids 5 and under

Contact: Helen Balmforth, Events Coordinator, 734-953-6045 or hbalmforth@angelahospice.us

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathleen McLeod

Name: Kathleen McLeod

How long have you been a volunteer?
15 years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Patient care in the Care Center, mailings, and events.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Forty-seven years ago my mother had cancer and she passed away. Back then they didn’t talk about it, they didn’t talk about cancer. It was a bad word. We knew when she was dying that she knew she was dying but we never talked about it. When we went to the hospital we just went during visiting hours and that was it.

I always felt really bad when she died that we didn’t get to share more with her. When I heard about Angela [Hospice] I thought, that sounds like a good place. So kind of in remembrance of my mother I started volunteering.

Why Angela Hospice?
I had heard from other people…good things about it. I had come for training and I liked it.

Kathleen has volunteered in Wing A since the
Care Center opened in 2010.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I really like the interaction with the patients and the families. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, a lot of volunteers that I’ve become friends with, and the staff and everything are just wonderful. It’s kind of a combination of everything. I really like it here.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I have a lot of them. One of the patient’s families told me that hospice was like the first step to heaven. That really stuck with me. I thought, you know, that is a wonderful tribute to hospice. There have been a lot of patients that were just wonderful.

I used to come in on Fridays when “Dancing With The Stars” was on Thursdays and this one lady just loved “Dancing With The Stars” so much. We would talk, and compare who we liked the best and everything.

The people and their stories were just very warm. It gave me a lot of compassion towards people and I think it strengthened my faith even more.

Volunteer Spotlight: Ellen Lukas

Name: Ellen Lukas

How long have you been a volunteer?
Two years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Haircuts for home care patients, Tree of Life, and mailings.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Both my parents were patients at Angela Hospice, my dad in 2004 and my mom in 2008. It was just a really good experience with both of them. I met [Spiritual Care Manager] Kathy Ostroskie, who was the volunteer coordinator at the time, and she said Angela Hospice was looking for somebody to give haircuts; that they could always use help. It was just the perfect timing, so that’s what I did.

Ellen at last spring's Laughter Lifts You Up event.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Probably meeting the patients and their families, and getting to know both of them.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
It’s really kind of similar to the question before. It’s getting to meet the patients and their families. Everybody has some sense of…they feel good about themselves if their hair is neat and they are put together. I like being able to help people feel better about themselves that way. Even when they are sick and getting their hair cut, you’ve got your hands on them. It makes me feel good that they’re feeling good and being cared for.

I can remember one lady in particular, going to see her…and giving her the haircut she wanted and being able to talk with her and listen. She ended up making me feel better when I left, which I found to be pretty interesting.

What a Wonderful World

By: Kate McNamara, Angela Hospice Volunteer

As he sat down to talk about his experience volunteering at Angela Hospice, Kevin Murphy said his life is boring. That statement is something the Irish refer to as blarney. As you will see, Kevin's life is anything but boring.

Kevin has been a spiritual care volunteer at the Care Center for four years. He assists at the Saturday afternoon masses and visits patients at the Care Center on Sunday mornings. He is a Eucharistic Minister, and also engages in a ministry of presence, which involves prayer, conversation, and sometimes silence.

“There are ebbs and flows with conversation,” he said. “It’s whatever they feel like talking about, from the books they’re reading to sports. I love to hear the stories.”

He also enjoys getting to know patient’s families and said oftentimes he prays with the family members too. Kevin also feeds patients and helps with direct care under the supervision of medical staff. He finds it all part of spiritual care.

Kevin said he volunteers at Angela Hospice because it’s wonderful. Kevin was introduced to Angela Hospice when his father, who received Angela Hospice home care, passed away 20 years ago from cancer.

Kevin has been a spiritual care volunteer for four years.
“Volunteering at Angela Hospice has changed me,” Kevin said. “It helped me to understand and appreciate life, including those last weeks of life that can really be high quality.”

Kevin said that one of his first patients made an indelible impression on him. She told him, “When she wakes up, she knows it’s a gift from God. Maybe the sun is shining or she gets a visit from a loved one, she just appreciates all of it.”

To explain Angela Hospice to those who may not be familiar with it, Kevin talked about the medical staff and the grounds.

“The thing that sticks out is the amazing medical staff,” he said. “What I hear about them from patients is that they are kind, courteous, efficient, and professional. Another thing I would tell them is how beautiful the facility is. The decor, the sitting areas, the courtyards, the spacious rooms, the flowers, the bird feeders, the natural light.”

To sum up his experiences with Angela Hospice, Kevin said “what I’ve seen is the opportunity at the end of life for quality interaction with friends and loved ones.”

Married over 30 years with two children and two grandchildren, Kevin's face lit up as he thought of his family. He is the Director of Customer Service at Technology Solutions. He has a degree in Pastoral Ministry from Sacred Heart Seminary. He serves on the Board of Gianna House, a ministry for pregnant teenagers that provides them with housing as well as educational training and development.

Asked whether he has a motto, Kevin laughed.

“My kids would say my motto is to always look on the bright side,” he said.

He also has a theme song. In fact, he danced to it with his daughter at her wedding, “What a Wonderful World.” And he says it is.