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Journey Rockbridge Area Hospice’s The

Fall 2016 – In This Issue: We Honor Veterans Helen’s Hospice Story National Hospice Month

E HONOR ETERANS • For those who W served us,Vwe humbly serve them •

© Glynnis Jones


WE HONOR VETERANS

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Veteran Volunt

eer Dick Rat


As a We Honor Veterans hospice provider, Rockbridge Area Hospice is providing specialized care to Veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, created We Honor Veterans to empower hospice and other health care providers across America to meet the unique needs of seriously ill veterans and their families. “Through We Honor Veterans we are taking a giant step forward in helping health care professionals and volunteers understand and serve veterans at the end of life,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “It is time that we step up and acquire the necessary skills and fulfill our mission to serve these men and women with the dignity they deserve.” Rockbridge Area Hospice’s Veteran to Veteran volunteer Dick Rathmell echoed these statements with his own recent words, “It is our responsibility, to each other and to the hospice mission, to embrace this program.” Within the WHV program, there are four levels of distinction that RAH can earn based on its involvement with veteran education and its interaction with the veterans and their family members whom they are caring for. The goal of these levels is to ensure that the very best care is being provided to those who have served our country. RAH has achieved all four levels and has a thriving veteran-to-veteran volunteer program (V2V). The highlight of the program is the unique pinning and recognition ceremony for our Veteran patients. Dick Rathmell has been a volunteer for Rockbridge Area Hospice for nearly ten years. After his wife passed away under the care of RAH, he felt the calling to give back to an organization that “gave so much to him.” Rathmell began training, and soon became a patient care volunteer. Since then, he has helped countless patients and families in home settings and facilities, assisted with hospice special events and been a community advocate with his many civic group connections. When RAH launched its partnership with We Honor Veterans and added the V2V volunteer program, Dick knew he wanted to be involved. He himself was a merchant marine during WWII, providing ammunition to ships. His experience in the service taught him the value of companionship and particularly comradery. These attributes are founding blocks of the WHV program. When asked why he wanted to participate in the V2V program, Dick’s simple words were, “More people did more for me than I ever deserved or can pay back. I consider myself profoundly wealthy, by the definition of the gifts of kindness given to me over my life. It is my responsibility to give it back.” Dick particularly enjoys being a part of the pinning ceremonies. “Our veterans deserve a proper thank you for their service. It is very meaningful for me to be a part of this time and to show them respect in their final journey They receive a special pin and a plaque thanking them for their service to our country.”

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ent Recent pati from family) ith permission (reprinted w

To learn more about the WHV program, or if you are interested in becoming a V2V volunteer, please contact Christine Hopkins, christine.hopkins@rahospice.org or 540-463-1848.


National Hospice and Palliative Care month

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and Rockbridge Area Hospice (RAH) is reaching out to raise awareness about the highest quality care for all people coping with life-limiting illnesses. “Every year, nearly 1.6 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospice and palliative care providers in this country,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “These highly trained professionals ensure that patients and families find dignity, respect, and love during life’s most difficult journey.” RAH strives to employ the best and most qualified staff who provide compassionate care. “Our clinical team focuses on the patient and family, addressing all their needs. This team approach brings a sense of peace and allows for more quality moments during this final journey,” noted Michelle Jones, Public Relations Director. It is important to note, hospice is not a place. Hospice and palliative care programs provide pain management,

symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible. RAH offers a pre-hospice bridge program called Connections, a We Honor Veterans program, and community bereavement to all our neighbors in need in Rockbridge County and surrounding communities.

described her recent experience with a patient, “This morning, my good friend/ patient passed away. He had no wife or children, but was not alone in his final moments: We, his hospice family, were there. Yes, my heart is heavy, but it’s also full. How blessed am I to get to be a hospice volunteer, for the opportunity to be present when it matters most.”

Hospice and palliative care combines the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support that families need most when facing the end of life. Through this specialized quality care, we see many patients and their families experience more meaningful moments together. Hospice helps them focus on living despite a terminal diagnosis.

RAH strives to fulfill its motto every day of being Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Through providing more local programs and services, employing great employees, training compassionate volunteers, offering patient care regardless of ability to pay, RAH creates more quality moments for families. Families and patients can focus on living, focus on each other, rather than worrying about medication, equipment, or cost of care.

As Tammy Reid, a hospice caregiver noted, “Rockbridge Area Hospice made it possible for us to spend five weeks with my mom at home. We were able to reach out to Hospice at any hour and all our needs were met to keep her comfortable. Thank you to the team for the support, dedication and care that my mom received during her illness.” A RAH patient care volunteer also

To learn more about programs and services offered by RAH, visit www. rockbridgeareahospice.org. Our mission at Rockbridge Area Hospice is the same as it was more than 30 years ago: Rockbridge Area Hospice will treat, comfort, and provide supportive care for terminally ill patients and their families to enable them to live life fully.


Kneeling, left to right: Danielle Ayres, Katelyn Lunsford, Lisa Howard, Liz Norman. Front Row Standing, left to right: Sherri Hartless, Hope Wilmore, Teresa Sorrells, Ali Engleman, Sue Clark, Christina Brizendine, Tasha Walsh. Back Row Standing, left to right: Terry Volant, Susie Ladd, Mark Schroeder, Kam Flynn, Kathy Conner, Pam Jennings, Christine Hopkins, Carolyn Morris, Donna Conner, Michelle Jones.


Two years ago, I became a patient care volunteer for Rockbridge Area Hospice during a period of time in which I had too much free time. My part-time work hours were becoming increasingly sporadic and, as an avid ultrarunner with a full race calendar, I could only log so many training miles each day. I felt guilty to have so much spare time and was determined to make good use of that time. As such, it was truly an incredible blessing/coincidence/opportunity to see an ad in the local paper about training to become a hospice volunteer. The exercises and activities we did during the end-of-life care training made me think—really think—about how I want to live each day: fully, with no regrets. And for almost a year, my life looked like this: wake up, go for a run, go to work, stop by Heritage Hall to visit my patient Eugene, buy groceries, make dinner, wash dishes, spend time with the family, rinse, and repeat. Admittedly, not exciting stuff, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything—my heart was full. And though Eugene has now passed, my heart is still full, though I miss him terribly. It occurred to me that, if not for hospice, Eugene and I would never have crossed paths. This wonderful friendship with this funny, mischievous, dog-loving, moonshine-drinking country boy, might never have been. So I’m deeply, deeply grateful for the moments we shared together. RAH patient, Eugene Lawhorne.

(reprinted with permission from family) I have a twelve-year-old named Aine and a sixteen-month-old baby, Aoife, both of whom would often accompany me to see Eugene. The word “precious” came up many times after Aoife’s arrival. And it made me think, “At what point does life STOP being precious?” Why is it that we seem to cherish life at its onset, only to allow it to be devalued, marginalized, or, worst of all, forgotten near its end?

My moments with Eugene, along with all my hospice patients are truly precious. So to those reading these words, think about the time in your day, those extra moments, that you could give to someone like Eugene. Join me in helping make more precious moments. Be a Neighbor Helping a Neighbor. Contact Christine Hopkins for more information about becoming a RAH volunteer, 540-463-1848.


Helen MacDermott

Patient Care Volunteer


For nearly twenty years, Rockbridge Area Hospice has been gathering during the fall months to host its annual Hospice Hustle 5K run/walk. Countless volunteers, staff, board members and participants have supported the successful fund raiser. The event raised awareness and funds to support the Hospice mission. This past September 17th was no exception. Under the leadership of co-chairs John Czeckner and Valerie Johnson, 242 total runners and walkers embarked on the glow-lit path at the Lexington Golf and Country Club. The Hustle event included a pre-race zumba warm-up, music provided by a DJ and local artist Bruce Allen, face painting by Love Faces, and other kid activities. Registration for all participants included a delightful BBQ meal sponsored by Kendal at Lexington. Winners for the event were: top male finishers, Sam Allen 18:16.423, Adam Hoofnagle 21:53.547, and Charlie Cathcart 22:11.010; top female finishers, Ashley Ooms 25:23.996, Megan Hobbes 26:10.483, and Catherine Harbor 28:28.680; and the top youth finishers, Dane Karch 22:53.877, Cooper Dahl 26:23.787, and Paul Grajzi 28:27.723. The top fund raising team was Team Pearly Girls, raising $400, winning the Dominos of Lexington pizza party, and the top team by number were the Sayre Walking Warriors with 16 members participating, winning a dessert party hosted by Sweet Treats in Lexington. The Hospice Hustle committee is excited to announce preliminary plans for its 20th Hospice Hustle race in 2017. The event will take place on September 16th at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista. Plans include a special music concert, open to the community. For more information on sponsoring the 2017 event, contact RAH at 540-463-1848.


Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Goads finds key to success There are many aspects to restoring a classic car. It takes a lot of love, time, skill, and elbow grease. It takes networking to find that missing part or piece. It takes financial investment and dedication to see the process through, even when the process can seem daunting or overwhelming. But when you reach the end, and that beautiful vehicle sits before you, all polished and shined, you hold your breath as you place the key in the ignition. You’ve worked tirelessly fixing, repairing, restoring, and it is the moment of truth. The key turns, and this magnificent machine roars to life. It is the sound of success. WD Goad, owner of Goads Body Shop, and event presenter, has found this exact key to success with his annual car show. He’s figured out how to get all the parts to align together. He throws in a lot of love, time, skill and elbow grease. WD mixes his passion for the work Rockbridge Area Hospice provides this community with a dynamic experience for classic car enthusiasts and spectators with superb community support. The Goad family and their network of supporters work throughout the year to organize the Kenney’s Classic Cruise-In. For the past eight years the event has turned into one of the largest classic car shows in Virginia. On Saturday, October 15th, the Goads welcomed more than 450 registered cars and raised more than $50,000 for Rockbridge Area Hospice. But if you approach WD, or anyone in the Goad family, they’ll quickly tell you, its more than just about the money. They are committed to raise as much awareness for Rockbridge Area Hospice as possible and to have a successful event that benefits the patients and families that are in need in our community. He does this so that care is provided to all our Neighbors, and to assure that they all know they have access to the best end-of-life care possible – regardless of ability to pay. Through the tremendous efforts demonstrated at the event, Rockbridge Area Hospice is able to provide more services to more patients, offer more local programs, such as the Connections pre-hospice program and the We Honor Veterans program. A quiet, humble, thank you is graciously expressed by our board of directors, staff and volunteers to the entire Goad family, Goads Body Shop employees, sponsors, participants and spectators. We appreciate and value the partnership that exemplifies the truest meaning of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.


What is V-DAC, and how can it help donors donate their vehicle to Rockbridge Area Hospice? Vehicle Donation to Any Charity, LLC (“V-DAC”) is a fund raising counsel, registered with the State of California Office of the Attorney General. It provides the vehicle donation programs that allow donors to give to any charity, church or school in the country. V-DAC is known for delivering high net revenue to recipient nonprofits around the country. What are the benefits of donating a vehicle to Rockbridge Area Hospice? It’s simple, easy, and free. V-DAC can convert your car into cash, which becomes a welcomed How long until my donation to Hospice. You are entitled to a tax deduction and you avoid the cost and hassle of vehicle is picked up? repairing or selling a car that you no longer want. All vehicle donations are processed as How long before the charity quickly as possible. gets its money? Do donors have to pay any Typically, V-DAC will It usually takes 45-60 days fees to donate their vehicle? pick up your vehicle from the time the vehicle No, there is no cost to within 2 or 3 days after is picked up until the car donate a vehicle to the title is received is sold and the transaction Rockbridge Area Hospice. by their processing is completed. Once the center in Rhode Island. transaction is completed, the You can speed up the net cash proceeds are usually process by downloading delivered to the nonprofit documents online. within two weeks. Does V-DAC accept all vehicles? Special arrangements Yes. They strive to accept any can be made whenever vehicle, anywhere, running or car donations must be Will I receive a tax deduction? not, which includes: cars, trucks, made quickly. You do You are entitled to deduct the sales price of motorcycles, RVs, boats, airplanes, not need to be home in your vehicle. You benefit from being able to heavy equipment, farm machinery, order for your vehicle reduce your taxable income when taxes are etc. No smog certificate is necesto be picked up. itemized. V-DAC provides donors with the sary and they can solve almost any sales receipt or IRS Form 1098C which you title issue. V-DAC will also pickup can use for tax reporting. anywhere in the country.

How much money goes to Rockbridge Area Hospice? The V-DAC program strives to give a high net return to nonprofits. Once the vehicle is sold, it deducts the actual costs of towing, auction and title processing. From these net sales proceeds, it then returns between 70% and 80% of this amount to RAH, depending on the value of the vehicle.


315 Myers Street Lexington, VA 24450 540.463.1848 (P) 540.463.3175 (F) www.rockbridgeareahospice.org Address Service Requested

Light up a

This December 6th, Rockbridge Area Hospice will hold its 30th annual Light Up a Life, a nondenominational celebration and illumination ceremony at Washington and Lee’s Hillel House in Lexington. This open community event will begin with light refreshments and fellowship at 5:30 p.m. The ceremony includes responsive and inspirational readings, reflections on those we’ve lost, and a reading of names of those we remember and honor. This event is for everyone in the community who has experienced a loss, not just those touched by Hospice.

Tasha Walsh, RAH Executive Director shares her story, “My grandfather loved chocolate covered cherry cordials. These were a once a year treat he enjoyed at Christmas. My family still buys a box of those candies during the holiday season and, to this day, some 45+ years after his death, a special place in my heart lights up with the love we shared while he was alive and the memory of our last box of cherry cordials together.” “For more than thirty years our staff and volunteers have provided extraordinary end-of-life care to the families of Rockbridge, County so more memories, just like my memory of the cherry cordials, can be made.” Each December, the board of directors, staff and volunteers join together with our neighbors to Light up a Life as RAH celebrates the lives that created those memories. Those in our community can honor the memory of loved ones by making a donation to symbolize a light on our holiday tree during this unique and special ceremony. Help make this year’s Light Up a Life the brightest ever by visiting the RAH website to make a secure online gift, www.rockbridgeareahospice.org, pick up a form at the Lexington office, or a form can be mailed to you upon request. Symbolic lights may also be purchased by calling, 540-463-1848. Please return Light Up a Life names by December 2nd, to assure their inclusion in the ceremony reading list. Each charitable donation helps to ensure that we are able to provide extraordinary care to all of our family, friends and neighbors, regardless of their ability to pay. A candlelit processional from Hillel House to Hopkins Green for the holiday tree illumination will conclude the ceremony. Ornament keepsakes will be available for those in attendance.

RAH 2016 Fall Newsletter  

Catch up on all the latest and greatest from RAH.

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