Passion Project

Two of Angela Hospice’s volunteers have given our patients and families a wonderful gift: a beautiful butterfly garden on the grounds of the Angela Hospice Care Center. It’s meant to be more than just something pretty to look at. It’s a place to experience nature in a way that can soothe the soul.

(Like most of our selfless volunteers, these two weren’t looking for any recognition when they made this generous gesture, and in fact, they wish to remain anonymous. So let’s call them Oliver and Eve.)

It was Oliver who first had the idea for a butterfly garden. He had been reading about native plants, and one day when he was working at the Care Center, the idea struck him: what about installing a butterfly garden at Angela Hospice?

“If you’ve ever had something really sad happen in your life and you’re kind of just sitting there contemplating it, you notice the simplest things, things you never would have noticed before,” Oliver said. “And I think that’s what gives you peace. That’s what I hope this does.

“People can just sit there and reflect. And if they see a bee hopping flower to flower, or a hummingbird, or a butterfly…it’s the little, simple things when you’re sad and you’re grieving. Sometimes those things give you comfort.”

Plymouth Nursery designed the garden in the shape  
of butterfly wings.
When Oliver presented his idea, it was met with enthusiasm and gratitude. With approval to pursue the project, Oliver and Eve hired Plymouth Nursery to come up with a design.

“The whole time I’d been kind of thinking about it and praying on it that somebody from Plymouth Nursery knows about Angela Hospice,” Oliver said, “So I don’t have to try to explain the special feeling this place has.”

He was delighted when he met Vicki from Plymouth Nursery and she told him, “I’ve got a history with this whole area.” She went on to tell them that when she was giving her thesis presentation for her MBA at Madonna, Sister Giovanni (Angela Hospice’s foundress) was giving her presentation on hospice at the same time. Vicki said she was inspired by Sister, knowing how many people would be helped by her vision.

“I thought, ‘Well, there you go. Prayers are answered,'” Oliver said.

When Vicki and her team got to working on the plan for the butterfly garden, they came up with a design in the shape of butterfly wings. Eve and Oliver loved the design and when a paved pathway was added, they knew it would be a special place for patients and families to visit.

Oliver captured this photo of a Monarch butterfly in
the garden.
“My aunt always smelled roses, which would remind her of her daughter that died,” Eve said. “I think even the smells and the sights are triggering for people…. hopefully they enjoy sitting out there and looking, and then reflecting on somebody that they love.”

And if visitors should see a butterfly while they’re there, “It’s kind of like when you see a ray of sunshine,” Eve said. “It just puts you in a good frame of mind.”

The garden is positioned just outside the Care Center’s A-Wing. It features many perennials, including hydrangeas, rose of Sharon, and butterfly bushes that will attract butterflies, bumble bees, and hummingbirds.

Angela Hospice is grateful to Eve and Oliver, who used their passions and resources to create a peaceful place to bring comfort and beauty to others.

These photos were taken in the garden. Click on a photo to enlarge it.

Rose of Sharon

A Monarch caterpillar

Shasta Daisy

Bumble bee on a Veronica plant

Linda's Lucky Day

Angela Hospice doesn't have a magic lamp, but we were able to grant a wish for one very sick local grandmother with glioblastoma, enabling her to spend some time with her family in a setting that has always made her happy.

Linda, who turned 70 in March, raised a happy family of four just outside Detroit with her husband Pete. That family grew to 23 with marriages and the addition of 13 grandchildren. They instilled family loyalty that included a love of family gatherings and a healthy sense of humor. So when Linda was diagnosed with a brain tumor last October, the family rallied the troops.

“It was so hard to comprehend because other than what we thought was bronchitis, she was just fine,” recalled Linda’s sister Debbie Scott. But by January, the effects of the disease and were hard to ignore. The insidious brain tumor, the same kind John McCain had, was difficult to treat with surgery because it spreads like tendrils through the brain. The family decided on a treatment plan and worked through everything they could do to keep Linda with them as long as possible.

In May, the family enlisted the help of Angela Hospice to provide care for Linda at home. Nurse Nanette Davis and social worker Ann-Patrice Foley started coming to the house once a week. The big extended family including children, grandchildren, siblings, and cousins, pitched in to take over the 24-hour care of everyday minute-to-minute needs, and provided frequent visitors. Throughout the summer, the house resembled normalcy, with some of her 13 grandchildren chatting, dancing, having sleepovers, and filling the house with laughter.

As the Angela staff got to know Linda and her family, they hatched a plan to give her a chance to do something she really loves with some time spent at a Detroit casino. This would involve some challenges, including solving transportation issues, and making Linda comfortable to sit with her family while she enjoyed her favorite slot machines, but the team solved these challenges one by one.

On September 5, a smiling Linda was able to leave the house for the first time in months, as more than a dozen family members and friends greeted her with cheers and tears.

"We are so grateful to Angela Hospice for giving us all this chance to see her so excited and happy,” Debbie said. “They proved to us that their purpose is: not just to ease end-of-life issues, but also to improve quality of life while we have it.”

Linda was delighted to be able to spend two hours at the casino — and even more so because she won over $400! As you can see in these photos, it was a really special day for Linda and the people who love her.

Angela Hospice would like to thank Pulse EMS for donating Linda’s transportation.

Walking to Remember

    Gale Loger (far left) created Team Darrell in memory of her 
With over 400 individuals already registered for this year’s Walk of Remembrance, the eleventh annual event promises to be as impactful as ever. For those who have never attended, the walk is an inspirational event centered around a 2.2-mile path throughout the Felician Grounds, from Madonna University to Angela Hospice. Those who have attended often come back year after year.

Gale Loger is one walker who will be returning this year. Her husband, Darrell, had spent eight days in Angela Hospice’s Care Center before he passed in July 2017. Last year was her first time walking, and she found that family and close friends were eager to join her. They formed “Team Darrell” in his memory.

“We feel that it’s the least we can do after what Angela Hospice did for Darrell,” Gale said. “Angela Hospice took great care of him.”

As Team Darrell, Gale and her family were able to pay tribute to Darrell in a special way. They found it comforting too, being surrounded by people who had gone through the same situation and knew what they were feeling. It was an uplifting experience.

Team Darrell on the route at the 2017 Walk of Remembrance.
“It just made me feel really good inside,” Gale said. “To be outdoors…it’s a beautiful walk. The property is gorgeous…and then you see a picture of your loved one along the way and it just warms your heart.”

Gale had a tree planted for Darrell on the Angela Hospice grounds, where she came with her kids and grandkids, on the anniversary of Darrell’s death. They stood there together in the rain, remembering all Darrell meant to them.

“We feel like we’re a little closer to him there,” Gale said. It’s part of why they’re returning to walk again this year.

To join Team Darrell and all the other walkers honoring the lives of those they have loved, you can register for the September 15 event here or by calling 734.464.7810. Registration includes an event T-shirt, ribbon to personalize, refreshments, and family-friendly activities. Early registration for adults is $25 (increases to $35 after August 24), $15 for ages 6-12, and free for ages 5 and under. Day of event registration begins at 9 a.m. and the opening ceremony begins at 10 a.m. 

Where There is No Cure, There is a Mother's Hope

Hiatham Breadiy and his mother, Azeza. 
The first thing you notice about Azeza Breadiy is her immense determination and focus.

Her firstborn son, Hiatham, has a severe form of epilepsy called Lafora Disease. This disease typically doesn’t manifest itself until adolescence. Children grow up normally, with no perceivable problems until they begin to suffer with seizures.

Hiatham is 15 and was recently diagnosed with Lafora. From manifestation, which is normally the first seizure, a Lafora victim will die typically within 10 years. There is no cure. Therapy is primarily palliative and aimed at reducing seizures. This is when Angela Hospice stepped in to support the Breadiy family.
Social Worker
Amanda Davis

Amanda Davis is Hiatham’s Angela Hospice social worker. She has teamed up with Azeza and the family to help find community resources for the many things they need to keep Hiatham comfortable.

The Breadiy family has three other children, Sophie, age 11; Gehad, 8; and Thayer, 10 months old. Hiatham’s father, Elayyan, has been battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma and went into remission late December 2016. Azeza is a lab tech.

The family faces many challenges. Azeza’s goal is to find researchers and clinical trials that aim to find gene therapies and medications to, if not cure, prolong the life of Lafora patients.

There is little awareness of Lafora Disease. The Rare Epilepsy Network promotes early diagnosis so that Lafora is considered by physicians, and the appropriate testing and treatment is initiated without delay.

“It’s tough to get the story out there,” says Azeza, “I’ve been shut down, but not out. Every little bit of awareness helps.”

"I've known Hiatham since 6th grade and he was one of my best friends...I wish we could talk like we used to. I'm literally in tears because I've known about this for so long and had hoped it would get better, but it hasn't...Hiatham is someone who I can't imagine being prayers all around from me." - Aiyana Siegert, friend of Hiatham

Volunteer Spotlight: Lin Fantino

Name:  Lin Fantino

How long have you been a volunteer? I became a volunteer in Fall 2017.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
I work primarily in the Care Center, providing support for patients and staff. I completed a little additional training to allow me to support the Care Center staff with direct care to patients. This direct care adds a little more depth to the volunteer skill set and it is something I really enjoy.  

As volunteers, we are also invited to respond to the requests for volunteer assistance from other Angela departments. Marketing mailings, special events preparation and participation, and special assignment opportunities are some of the options for volunteers. I enjoy this variety.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Volunteering has always been something I was drawn to. My children are grown and doing well and I had just retired,  so I wanted to find a meaningful way to give back for all of God’s gifts in my life, now that I finally had the time. Angela was the answer!

Why Angela Hospice?
When evaluating the optimal choice for volunteering, I found that Angela’s mission statement was a great match for what I was seeking. The emphasis on the dignity of each person and the love and care that should be provided at end of life is very important to me. Angela provides an enriching environment, customized palliative care options, and a caring community of professional people to each person who comes to us for care.  

My time at Angela nurtures my spirit and faith, and allows me to share with wonderful people – both on the Angela teams and the patients themselves.  It has added richness to my life that I don’t think I could find elsewhere.

Lin Fantino volunteers in the Care Center, 
providing support to patients and the staff.
What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I always seem to take away something memorable from each of my volunteer assignments. One that stands out happened just a few weeks ago when Angela was asked to provide respite care in our Care Center for an infant, allowing the mother to get much needed rest. As part of the volunteer team for this request, I was able to spend time hugging, holding, feeding, and comforting this beautiful little baby. I will never forget the peace and gratitude I felt to be supporting this mother and baby to continue their journey together.