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Hospice of the Calumet Area Powered by the Strength of its Community

Spring 2016

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HCA Canine Companion, Zach, sits with Stan Peters, providing comfort at his wife, Cindy’s funeral service.

Founded in 1981, Hospice of the Calumet Area started as a grassroots volunteer effort.  Since then, our volunteer tradition continues with a strong corps that works in every aspect of the organization. In our 35 years of operation we have cared for over 17,500 individuals in their homes through Hospice and our free Transitions™ program, as well as 3,900 patients at the William J. Riley Memorial Residence.  Volunteers have been with us every step of the way!

Last year alone we had 446 volunteers working on our behalf: 130 active Hospice and Transitions™ volunteers, 209 Friends of Hospice members, 75 Hospice Artisans, 30 Board Members and two Caring Canines.  Men and women, young and old, humans and dogs, they all make up a diverse team of remarkable volunteers who help us accomplish our mission.  In 2015, our hospice program volunteer hours increased by 5.25% for total hours of 13,067 and a cost savings of $301,450! One of our most beloved volunteer programs is Caring Canines.  These incredible dogs, along with their handlers, provide invaluable companionship to patients who welcome the company of an animal.  Stan and Cindy Peters enjoyed many years of companionship from their loving Golden Retrievers. They were happy to learn that Hospice of the Calumet Area offered a Canine Companion program when Cindy enrolled in Hospice care – and they were thrilled to find out the visiting canine would be Zach, a Golden Retriever!

Zach’s handler, Ginny, is a licensed Aesthetician as well as a trained Companion Volunteer.  While Ginny gave Cindy a manicure, Stan and Zach would enjoy playtime.  Each time Ginny called to confirm the weekly visit, Cindy would light up in anticipation. Stan explains, “Just petting Zach would cause Cindy to relax and smile; he brought her sunshine.” Together, Ginny and Zach provided much comfort and joy on their visits to Cindy and Stan.

But Ginny and Zach’s service didn’t end when Cindy passed. Ginny called Stan and offered to bring Zach to the funeral service. Stan was touched by this offer and obtained the funeral home’s permission. For the entire service, Zach laid on the floor next to Stan’s seat. At one point, Stan extended his hand down toward the dog, and Zach put his paw in Stan’s hand. Stan says he knew it was a sign. As Stan addressed the family and friends who had come to pay their respects and say their goodbyes to his love, he let them all know that Zach had served as Cindy’s loyal therapy dog. But on that day, Zach was there for Stan.

Every bit of the 13,607 hours of volunteer work provided is valuable. No matter what task a volunteer may undertake on our behalf, it is part of the whole that leads to our success . . . and our success means improving the quality of life for the individuals and families in our care, our community.

January 8, 2016

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16th Annual Cookie Walk

Queen Elizabeth praises Hospice Artisans in letter

October 11, 2013

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Hospice of the Calumet Area staff and volunteers, front row from left, Shirl Pawlowski, Barbara Bame and Howard Bame, and back row, Theresa Mudd and Adrianne May, look over a letter received from Balmoral Castle on behalf of Queen Elizabeth thanking the Hospice Artisans for the gift of a writing folio featuring the Queen’s coronation picture.

MUNSTER | The Hospice Artisans, a group comprised of more than 50 volunteers who create and sell unique handcrafted items to support the work of Hospice of the Calumet Area, recently received a “thank you” letter from Queen Elizabeth’s Lady-in-Waiting Susan Hussey.

At the Queen’s direction, Lady Susan Hussey wrote from Balmoral Castle to thank the Hospice Artisans for a gift of a handmade writing folio and to congratulate the artisans for their work in generating $175,000 for Hospice of the Calumet Area.

Artisan volunteer Shirl Pawlowski came up with the idea of sending a gift to Great Britain’s monarch to commemorate the 60th anniversary of her coronation. “The writing folio with the Queen’s coronation picture is one of our most popular products. It just seemed natural to send a copy to the Queen herself,” Pawlowski said.

Friends of Hospice President Theresa Mudd added, “We all thought it was a very nice idea to send a gift to the Queen, but we never expected to be honored with a response from a high-ranking royal official.” Hussey has been one of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting for more than 50 years and is also one of Prince William’s godmothers.

Hospice of the Calumet Area has served end-of-life needs of local families since 1981. Most Hospice patients are cared for in their homes. In addition, a residential facility is available in Munster when in-home care is not possible.

Press Release: 3/13/2013 – National Healthcare Decisions Day Set for April 16

Press Release: 1/23/2013 – Training for Patient Companion Volunteers Announced

Lydia Dershewitz named Munster Rotary Woman of the Year for 2012!

Lydia Dershewitz came to NW Indiana 13 years ago from Boston, MA. Since then she embraced her community and has been an inspiration to Munster, IN with all of her volunteer work at Hospice of the Calumet Area.

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Lydia Dershewitz (r), Munster Rotary Woman of the Year 2012 is shown with current Friends of Hospice (FOH) President Theresa Mudd (l) and Candice Logue.

15th Annual Cookie Walk, 12/1/2012