Volunteer Spotlight: Margaret Cotruvo

Name: Margaret Cotruvo

How long have you been a volunteer? I’ve been a volunteer about a year and a half.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
The areas where I work include representing the Spiritual Care Department by visiting patients in care facilities, and offering Healing Touch treatments in the Care Center. I’ve also helped with several mailings, and helped with events like the Tree of Life, Laughter Lifts You Up, and the Golf Outing.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I recently retired and wanted to find a rewarding volunteer experience. 

Why Angela Hospice?
I've known about the good work hospice does and I know a couple of volunteers so I contacted the volunteer department nearly two years ago.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I volunteer in the Spiritual Care Department and visit patients in senior housing facilities. I'm finding this to be very rewarding.

Debbie Thams and Margaret Cortruvo volunteering
at the Laughter Lifts You Up event in February.
What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering? 
My most memorable experience so far came from working in Spiritual Care. The gentleman I was visiting liked to sing. His favorite song was "I'll Fly Away" and he and his daughter sang it for me. It was wonderful!

Winner Takes All Raffle

We hope you'll take part in our Winner Takes All Raffle! We've collected a nice variety of prizes to be taken home by one lucky winner. Golf getaways, Tigers tickets, gift cards, and more could all be yours. Only 500 tickets will be sold for this raffle, so make sure to get yours today. The drawing will be held Monday, June 11, at the Angela Hospice Golf Outing, but you need not be present to attend.

Click the flyer below for a detailed list of prizes and an order form. You can also order tickets by calling the Development Office at (734) 464-7810. Thanks for playing and good luck!

All proceeds benefit Angela Hospice's charitable programs for hospice patients.

There Are Angels Out There

Whether she was making homemade bread, or sewing matching pajamas for all 10 of her grandchildren, Marcella was friendly, funny, and always elegant.

Marcella LaRevitzear and daughter Cyndie Deere.
Marcella wasn’t just a great mother to Cyndie. She was a role model, an inspiration, and her best friend. “There was never a day that we didn’t talk,” Cyndie said. “We had our hair done together, did our grocery shopping together….It was always the best to be with her.”

So when Marcella got sick, Cyndie and her husband, John, invited Marcella into their home so they could care for her. But with Parkinson’s accelerating her Alzheimer’s, Marcella eventually needed around the clock supervision.

“It was really hard for me to keep her safe in the house,” Cyndie said. She couldn’t leave her mom alone for even 15 minutes. She had to sleep in her mother’s bedroom to make sure she didn’t get up and fall or wander off. But it was important to Cyndie to keep her mom at home.

So when Cyndie found out about Angela Hospice, having that extra help right there in her own home was an amazing relief. Her mom loved the visits from staff, and for Cyndie, having a few hours to herself each week gave her the break she needed.

Marcella and Jean LaRevitzear
on their wedding day, June 20, 
“It was a whole world of difference,” Cyndie said. “It was just amazing…everyone was so nice.”

Marcella had hospice care at home for five and a half months, but when she fell one Tuesday morning and broke her hip, Cyndie called Angela Hospice and they admitted her mom to the Care Center right away. Marcella was unconscious for several days as Cyndie stayed with her at the center. Cyndie’s brothers and children flew in to be with her too. Then for a moment that Friday night, Marcella woke up.

“She opened her eyes and she acted like she knew all of us,” Cyndie said. “I couldn’t have asked for her to have a more peaceful passage. Even though it was the worst thing that ever happened in my life… the feeling of having everyone there, it was pretty incredible.”

In the nine years since Marcella’s passing, Cyndie and John have been organizing a golf outing each summer. The Two Moms Golf Outing honors Marcella, and the mother of a close family friend who passed away around the same time. Through these outings, the Deere’s along with their friends and family have raised $40,000 for Angela Hospice programs.

“To be able to help other families go through what we went through, it just seems like it’s a good way to give back and be thankful,” Cyndie said.

John and Cyndie Deere.
In addition to honoring Marcella, the Deere’s make a great impact through the Two Moms Golf Outing, both through the important funding the outing raises for Angela Hospice, and the awareness it brings to their community about the help hospice provides.

“I wish we had called earlier,” Cyndie said. “We had already known that there wasn’t a cure. I wish that people had known that there were angels out there.”

Therapy of the Furry Kind

OSCAR, is a 12-year-old Chihuahua and Jack Russell mix, rescue dog. Joe
Gillen, Oscar’s “dad,” is an Angela Hospice volunteer. Joe wanted this story to be
about Oscar and Brenda, Joe’s wife who died at the Angela Hospice Care Center in
2015, with Oscar by her side. Brenda was the one who rescued Oscar when he was
on the streets. She thought he was a black dog until she bathed him and saw that
he was white!

Excerpts from Brenda’s “Oscar Blog”: “Oscar was officially trained at Therapy
Dogs, Inc. He doesn’t shy away from people. He seems to think his lot in life is to
be fondled by strangers in a public place. Having Oscar as a therapy dog is good
for him and me. When we got home after his first client visit he was so happy — all
those hands touching his face and ears — I think I need to pick up some sanitizing
wipes today! ”

JOSIE, a 4-year-old Golden Retriever is part of our Volunteer Therapy
Dog program. Her “mom,” Beth Judd, says, “Josie gets by on her looks.
Being a Golden is an asset because people really respond to her beauty.”
Josie’s calm temperament, obedience, and patience soothes and comforts
patients and families, often by climbing into bed with them if they like.
Beth says, “It’s a wonderful sight to have patients see Josie and recall their own
dogs. She evokes a lot of emotion and happiness from people who are in a
difficult situation.”

Josie’s schedule, besides volunteering in the Angela Hospice Care Center, involves
going to nursing facilities on behalf of Angela Hospice, visiting local elementary
schools, and helping young hockey players relieve stress. Beth was called to this
work and she got Josie specifically for the priviledge of volunteering to help
hospice families in this special way.

REGGIE, a 10-year-old Multipoo visits the Angela Hospice Development
Department almost every day, and is a mascot, friend, and a real comfort to anyone having a difficult day. Reggie is one of the special perks to working at Angela Hospice (and he kind of knows it.) Lisa Norton, Development Department Coordinator, is Reggie’s ”mom.” She says, “Reggie brings down the stress level in the office, plus he is great when you need a hug.”

PIPER, a one-year-old Toy Fox Terrier, is new to the therapy business. Her
”mother,” Debbie Vallandingham, is a Bereavement Social Worker here at Angela
Hospice. Deb says, ”Piper is a great breed to train for becoming a certified therapy
dog — she loves people, has spunk and tenacity, and a ‘can-do‘ attitude.” Piper
was a big hit at “Getting Through the Holidays” (an Angela Hospice workshop for
children who have lost a loved one). The kids loved her! Piper is a Canine Good
Citizen, and knows basic commands, including a very useful one, “leave it!”

To support our volunteer pet therapy programs, you can donate at angelahospice.org/donations/.

Ericka Holman Leaves a Legacy to Her Children From Her Heart

The Holman Children, one-year-old Christina (left) and three-year-old Charrise. Ericka will be remembered by her kids through the heirlooms such as Ericka's voice in their teddy bears, messages from their mother in personalized books, and her thumbprint and inscription on the silver necklaces shown below.

"So we have been faced with this cancer. We are 
not defined by it, we are no less blessed, but we 
are more than conquerors. We have a God who 
loves us. He brings peace when we are in pain, 
He brings strength when we feel like we can't 
make it! God is our very present help in our 
time of great need. God has eternity under 
control!" - Ericka Holman

Ericka and her husband Chris were both attending the International Gospel Church in Ecorse when Ericka’s godmother set them up on a blind date. They fell in love, and married on June 7, 2014. In 2015, they brought their first little girl, Charrise, into the world and the following year, the second girl, Christina, was born.

Before the girls came along, Ericka was a private home care assistant. She cared for a woman with dementia. The only person this woman would talk to was Ericka — and that says a lot about Ericka’s loving, kind, selfless personality.

When the girls arrived, the Holman’s had plans for their family — taking the kids on vacation, maybe to Disney World — but fate had other plans for Ericka.

Ericka began to notice symptoms, a small lump on her breast. She thought it had something to do with childbirth, even though her Grandmother had breast cancer that was non-life-threatening. When Ericka’s legs became swollen, Chris had to take care of the children and Ericka as well because she could hardly walk. One evening at home she almost fell, and Chris took her to the hospital. That was in August of 2017. By October she recieved a diagnosis of terminal breast cancer. She was just 37 years old.

Ericka came to the Angela Hospice Care Center late in October and remained there until her death in December. Right after admission, our volunteer department, with
volunteer coordinator Melayna Morio taking the lead, started on planning the legacy Ericka would leave for her children.

Together, Ericka and Melayna used voice-enabled teddy bears and personalized books to leave messages for the children to hear throughout their lives. They also took Ericka’s thumbprint and put it on a silver pendant for each of the girls and Chris, with a message of love.

Anyone who knew Ericka, however briefly, could see that she was a woman of great faith in God. She never blamed anyone for her fate and never doubted that God would take care of everything.

Ericka died knowing that she was leaving something for her children to remember her by, and knowing that they would always be held in the hands of the Lord.