Showing posts from 2017

Shepherding Families Through Until the End

Rick Colter was a great dad. He was fun-loving and adored his wife Kathy, their 4 children – Ryan, Teri, Cody and Shanna and his seven – grandchildren. Rick worked as an industrial fireman at General Motors for years, was a hobbyist mechanic, and a lover of the outdoors.

The life-changer came when Rick was diagnosed with lung cancer at 54 years old. He and Kathy tried everything. There was a period of remission before the disease came back, and then the doctors told them to find a hospice.

The remarkable part of the story is not that God led Rick and Kathy to Angela Hospice, but that there they were able to find a way for Rick to see his eldest son Ryan before he died.

Ryan is an inmate in the Ionia State Prison, for a charge that he and his family maintain he is innocent of. Rick was unable to see Ryan for more than a year, and it seemed impossible to see him now when he was very ill and in hospice home care. Rick was too sick to make the trip there.

But with God, all things are pos…

The Meaning in the Trees

After 30 years in the community, Angela Hospice’s Tree of Life is a familiar site to many as they hurry to do their holiday shopping, or stroll through the food court at Laurel Park Place. Though at first glance it might look like just another festive mall display, the Tree of Life represents something much deeper, and more poignant: it’s an ever growing testament of the beautiful relationships we cherish – that not even death can diminish.
“It is nearly impossible to walk past this beautiful space without being deeply touched by the size and scale of love on display, each ornament representing the name of someone precious in the life of individuals and families in our community,” said Bob Alexander, director of development for Angela Hospice. “The ornamented evergreens themselves are a powerful reminder that our care for those we hold dear is ever-living and precious, maybe even more so as time goes on.”
The Tree of Life has proven to be a meaningful tradition year after year, both …

A Room for Brian

The Angela Hospice Care Center has always been a community-driven labor of love. From its construction in the early 1990s; to its expansion a decade and a half later; and right through to the present, where day-to-day operations are supported by the generosity of donors and friends – the Care Center is a rare and valuable community resource made possible by Angela Hospice’s caring supporters. It’s also a godsend for families like the Wilson’s.

When their son came to stay with them over Christmas last year, the brain tumor he had been determined to fight for nearly 11 years began to overcome him. At 30 years old, Brian was 6’2” and his disease had progressed to the point that he could no longer walk on his own. How would his parents take care of him in their home that was not wheelchair accessible? The Angela Hospice Care Center provided a solution. It meant Brian could get the care he needed and his parents would know that he was safe.

“That was the best place for him,” said Karen Wi…

The Tree of Life

A reflection by Bart Wingblad

First I heard the laughter, and then I felt the children brush past me as they ran into the Sanders store, negotiating the narrow entrance with the man waiting at the counter. Their mother entered immediately behind them barking orders to “Put that back,” and “Watch your sister.” I smiled as I watched the five children, ages from about four to nine, three girls, and two boys, all dressed up for their picture with Santa.

Their excitement took me back to days long past when my sister and brother and I would walk the two blocks from Grandma’s house to visit the Sanders store – all three of us getting chocolate malts at the counter and some rock candy to bring back to Grandpa. Somehow, we hoisted ourselves to the top of the stools, which towered over all three of us. It was a different time, and it seems a hundred years ago.

I was waiting for the chocolate malt I ordered when the kids ran in. I couldn’t help but notice how happy they all seemed; without a car…

It's Giving Tuesday!

As the holiday shopping season kicks off, it’s time to remind ourselves that it really is better to give than to receive. How will you celebrate #GivingTuesday?
If you’re looking for inspiration on this international day of giving, here are a few ideas on how you can show your giving spirit: Take an #UNselfie. Show the world why Angela Hospice means so much to you. Download this flyerand post it on social media. Be sure to tag us on Facebook and Twitter!Give your time. Help out a neighbor in need or volunteerDonate to your favorite charity, like Angela Hospice, which you can donate to here. Write a positive review. Organizations like ours depend on your kind words to help spread the word about what we do. Writea review about Angela Hospice. Those are just a few ideas for what you could do on #GivingTuesday! Comment below to let us know how you plan on participating!
If you have any questions, please contact our Development Office at (734) 464-7810.


AVA eases burdens for hospice patients

When Angela Hospice launched its telehospice program last January, the staff knew there would be benefits for patients, like faster response times and being able to see a nurse’s friendly face when getting help with their concerns. But as the program has evolved, we’ve discovered even more ways this innovative program is making life easier for hospice patients.
Joanne Savage could tell you. Widowed six years ago, she’s raising three boys on her own. And she’s been fighting her own battle with cancer for 11 years. Now on Angela Hospice’s home care program, one of the highlights for Joanne is AVA (Angela’s Virtual Assist), the tablet device that allows Joanne to connect to telehospice services and video chat. 
“It makes a difference,” Joanne said, “Because I know that I can call anytime and someone will be there.”
Joanne was diagnosed with peritoneal carcinoma, a rare form of cancer, at the age of 40. She was actually in remission for four years, but there were also surgeries, three years…

Volunteer Spotlight: Ingrid Lasley

Name: Ingrid Lasley

How long have you been a volunteer?
I started volunteering about 2 ½ years ago.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
I cover the receptionist desk for lunch hours, which includes telephone calls. I have covered Tree of Life shifts for the past 2 years and plan to volunteer again this season. I also have been involved in numerous mailings and last year’s Walk of Remembrance.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I stopped working a few years ago and decided I could use my spare time best by volunteering. I am enjoying every minute!

Why Angela Hospice?

My mother passed away in 2012 in Buffalo, NY, and after witnessing the treatment my mother received at a hospice facility there, I knew I wanted to be part of such a kind and caring group.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I have enjoyed meeting so many people who have demonstrated so many ways one can give. The employees and volunteers at Angela Hospice are truly special peop…

Freezing Fun Charity Run

Are you ready for a challenge? Then prepare to get chilly at the Freezing Fun Charity Run on December 16.
The Wolves and Hawks Soccer Club has chosen Angela Hospice and the Salvation Army as the beneficiaries of their warm-hearted, cold-weather run/walk taking place at Schoolcraft College. Choose from the 1.6-mile route or take on the full 5K!
The race will begin at 9 a.m. at the St. Joe’s Sports Dome at Schoolcraft College, then continue around the rest of the campus. Individuals can register for $22, or a family of 3 or more can register for $50 per family.
Online registration is available here

Volunteer Spotlight: Marilyn Ling

Name:  Marilyn Ling
How long have you been a volunteer? Over 10 years
What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer? I sing in the choir. We meet the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. We try to sing patriotic songs, and uplifting music for the patients and their friends and family that come to visit. I also spend time helping out with the mailings. In the past, I’ve helped out with the desserts at the volunteer dinner. I did that for a couple years.
What made you decide to become a volunteer? Both my parents were in hospice care, and I just wanted to give back. My mom was in hospice around 25 years ago. Back then the whole concept of hospice was a little new, but our family really embraced it. I wanted to get involved and volunteer, and that lead me to Angela Hospice.
Why Angela Hospice? I chose Angela Hospice because I am a resident of Livonia.
What is your favorite part about volunteering? I really enjoy the choir. People really like the music and sometimes…

Volunteer Harvey Fox pays I.T. forward

Even when you’ve been volunteering your whole adult life, you never quite know what will come next. Just ask Harvey Fox, who’s been an Angela Hospice volunteer since 2014, and has volunteered at other organizations for years as well. He went through Angela Hospice’s volunteer training thinking he would help by visiting with patients, or maybe working in maintenance or hospitality – but he ended up assisting in Information Technology.

Perhaps it’s not too surprising, considering Harv spent 28 years as a software developer, then another 16 years teaching computer classes. But he hadn’t imagined all the ways his I.T. skills would benefit Angela Hospice.

“I only work four or so hours a week in the office, but I see that my time has really helped in many concrete ways,” said Harv.

Harv has helped in multiple departments, developing user-friendly tools to help staff work more efficiently. And as much as the employees he helps are eager to express their gratitude to him, Harvey says it’s re…

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Ann Desjarlais

Name: Mary Ann Desjarlais

How long have you been a volunteer?
I have been a volunteer for 12 years

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
I help with fundraisers, make deliveries to patients’ homes, work on mailings, and do home visits and respite care.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I became a volunteer when I retired. I wanted to do something worthwhile with my time.

Why Angela Hospice?
I became familiar with Angela Hospice when my dad was there. I was inspired after seeing the level of care he received.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I love meeting the people I come in contact with. The patients and families are so grateful.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I was doing respite care with a patient that had Alzheimer's. She never showed any recognition toward her husband. One day, her husband came home and sat next to her. She looked at him with recognition in her eyes. She put her head on …

Employee Spotlight: Joan Lee

Name, title:Joan Lee, Bereavement Social Worker

How long have you worked here? 23 years.
What made you decide to work here? I wanted to work at a place that provided very dedicated care and I was in the process of switching jobs. I drove by Angela Hospice before they even had the driveway in and I said, “hospice.” I had also just lost my 46-year-old dear friend. I also had a lot of losses in my life so I had experience with death.
So as I passed Angela Hospice I thought, “Now that would be a place where there would be dedicated people working…it would be more like a vocation.”
Sister Giovanni and two other social workers interviewed me, and I was offered the position.
How had you heard of Angela Hospice? I had never heard of it before but I was just driving by and the whole concept of hospice – and after the death of my friend hospice was already in my head – so when I saw the word “hospice” I thought, “I think I can do that.”
So I asked the mother of the dear friend who had died – who…


A new way to super-charge your Walk of Remembrance

Everydayhero is a new tool that Walk of Remembrance participants can use to make an even bigger impact on Angela Hospice and the community.

If you are walking in remembrance of a loved one, invite others to join you as virtual team members! Just visit our page on Everydayhero and click the green “Start Fundraising” button:
In under five minutes, you’ll be able to customize your own team fundraiser page and easily share it with family, friends, and coworkers on social media. 
For more on the Walk Remembrance and how to start a team, visit our event page here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Deborah Diehr

“Whenever someone talks about hospice, I always mention that I am a volunteer for Angela,” said Deborah Diehr, a four year Angela Hospice volunteer.
When Debbie isn’t working full time for a durable medical equipment company, she is busy owning and managing her own massage business at Balanced Life Massage Studio in Westland, Michigan.
Her background in massage therapy has made her a treasured volunteer here at Angela Hospice. Debbie volunteers in the Care Center, but spends most of her time visiting patients’ homes to give massages.
For Debbie, knowing she is making a difference in someone's final journey, and being able to give them comfort and peace, is what she cherishes most about volunteering.
As for the most challenging part? “Not being able to get to every patient Lora sends to me.”
With working a full time job and running her own business, Debbie has many demands on her time. “I can only do what I can, but I feel bad that I can't do more,” said Debbie, a mother of four and…

Trek of a Lifetime

You could say Jennifer Lake was a Trekkie since birth. She grew up watching Star Trek and knew all the episodes, all the characters.

“She loved science fiction,” said her mother, Marilyn Spence, who took Jennifer to see her first sci-fi movie as a child. “Books, movies…that’s how she got started.”

So in August 2015, when Jennifer booked two tickets for a Star Trek cruise that would set sail from Miami in March 2017 – she had a lot of time to build up excitement. Only things didn’t really go as planned.

Jennifer had a brain tumor. In fact, she had been fighting tumors, undergoing surgery after surgery, radiation, and chemo, in a frustrating loop for 19 years. What started with a seizure when she was 26 years old, eventually evolved into a glioblastoma multiforme grade 4, the worst kind of brain tumor. But Jennifer was determined. She may have had a wound on her skull and enough medications to cover the dining room table, but she was definitely going on that cruise to fulfill her Star…

Volunteer Spotlight: Christine Henzi

Name:  Christine Henzi
How long have you been a volunteer? I have been a volunteer since August of 2012.
What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer? For the past 5 years I have been a home care volunteer. I have assisted patients and their families in many different ways including visiting with patients, sitting with patients while family goes out, helping with light housekeeping, even walking dogs. It really varies with each patient and their needs. Additionally, for the past year, I have been helping in the Spiritual Care Center as clerical support.
What made you decide to become a volunteer? Like so many of our volunteers, I had a family member who was a patient. I was so impressed with the care and compassion shown that I knew I wanted to be a part of Angela Hospice. I also have a background in medicine as a Physician Assistant and felt like my knowledge and experience would be valuable.
Why Angela Hospice? Angela Hospice came highly recommended to our family f…

Marlis's Story: Faith for the Journey

Marlis Brady has a beautiful accent. There’s something quite elegant in the way she pronounces her consonants; and the rhythm of her voice, as it subtly rises and falls, produces an enchanting, peaceful effect – even as she describes the trials she’s faced in her 88 years.

Marlis grew up in the Rhine Main Valley in Germany during World War II, where hardship was not uncommon.

“You couldn’t get anything new. We grew up always saving things, repairing things,” Marlis explained. “I remember one winter I froze my toes because we didn’t have regular shoes… I was standing in line for milk too long.”

Food was scarce for families like hers, who didn’t have a farm of their own. But she and her brother helped at other farms during the potato harvest. It meant a sandwich each day for lunch, and an extra sack of potatoes at the end of the year. It was a way to help their family, before Marlis started to work for the occupying American forces after the war.

“When I turned 18, I could actually get …

Volunteer Spotlight: Larry Janowski

Name: Lawrence (Larry) Janowski

How long have you been a volunteer? Five years

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer? I work in the patient care facility and assist in fundraising for Angela hospice. Every other Saturday during the summer, I barbecue for patients and their families. On Sunday mornings, I volunteer with the snack cart and visit with families and patients if they are up to it. During the year, I help with various fundraisers, such as: the Tree of Life, golf outings, Walk of Remembrance, and help as needed setting up other fundraisers.

What made you decide to become a volunteer? I had a spiritual encounter. Angela Hospice helped my wife’s family with my mother-in-law’s passing. The nurses from home care helped our family as needed keeping the family together and making sure my mother-in-law did not suffer and could spend her remaining time sharing family memories.While driving home from work, I passed Angela Hospice and was wondering how I could…