‘La Dolce Vita’

‘A Night in Italy’ raises $130K for Tal­bot Hospice

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By KATIE WILLIS kwillis@star­dem.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @kwillis_s­tar­dem.

EAS­TON — More than 160 guests cel­e­brated “La Dolce Vita” on Oct. 21 at Tal­bot Coun­try Club and raised more than $130,000 in sup­port of Tal­bot Hospice ser­vices and pro­grams.

Event co-chair­men, vol­un­teers and Tal­bot Hospice board mem­bers Hynda Dal­ton and Sheila Mon­a­han co­or­di­nated the event, which in­cluded dec­o­ra­tions and light­ing, an Ital­ian-themed din­ner and danc­ing to the band NightLife.

“Ul­ti­mately, we chose the name ‘La Dolce Vita’ be­cause we thought that’s re­ally in keep­ing with hospice and its con­cept,” Mon­a­han said. “That’s what we’re all about, is mak­ing sure ev­ery­body leads a good life for as long as pos­si­ble.”

Mon­a­han said the fundraiser was held be­cause Tal­bot Hospice has been tasked with rais­ing more than $1 mil­lion for its fis­cal year 2018 bud­get.

Dal­ton said that is about what it costs per year “to do what (hospice) does.”

Dal­ton and Mon­a­han said this event was a ma­jor fundraiser for Tal­bot Hospice, but the events are not held an­nu­ally. Dal­ton said the events are held about ev­ery two years to raise money for the or­ga­ni­za­tion. The women said their per­sonal goal for the event was to raise $100,000.

Mon­a­han said the fundrais­ing part of the event took place ahead of time, through the pur­chase of tick­ets, which were $200 per per­son, and through event spon­sor­ships. She said the event was a cel­e­bra­tion and no fundrais­ing took place dur­ing the event.

Ma­jor event spon­sors in­cluded 15 in­di­vid­u­als, and spon­sor­ship lev­els ranged from $2,500 to $20,000.

Mon­a­han said much of the money raised will go to­ward hospice char­ity care.

“We have so many costs that are not re­im­bursable by Med­i­caid and Medi­care, and in­surance,” Mon­a­han said.

This past year, Tal­bot Hospice pro­vided more than $500,000 in char­ity care to Tal­bot County cit­i­zens, she said.

“Those are ex­penses that we have to find the money for,” Mon­a­han said. “For in­stance, in the guest wing, we have a slid­ing scale for room and board. Many, many peo­ple can­not af­ford that. So we pro­vide that care at no cost or at a very re­duced cost.”

Tal­bot Hospice Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Vi­vian Dodge said other op­er­at­ing ser vices not cov­ered by in­surance in­clude all vol­un­teer ser­vices, in­di­vid­ual coun­sel­ing and be­reave­ment sup­port for hospice fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity mem­bers who have lost a loved one who many or may not have been in hospice. She said th­ese ser­vices are of­fered free of charge to the com­mu­nity and hospice fam­i­lies.

“I would say that about 60 per­cent of the care for be­reave­ment is (for) the com­mu­nity at large,” Dodge said. “They look to Tal­bot Hospice as a re­source for grief sup­port and grief coun­sel­ing.”

Tal­bot Hospice is a re­source in Tal­bot County for peo­ple fac­ing end-of-life ill­ness, loss and grief. The or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vides full ser­vice hospice care in homes, nurs­ing fa­cil­i­ties and at the Hospice House on Cyn­wood Drive in Eas­ton.

Pro­grams in­clude Pe­di­atric Care, Path­ways, be­reave­ment and spir­i­tual coun­sel­ing, com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion and trained vol­un­teers. Ser­vices are of­fered to in­di­vid­u­als, care­givers, fam­i­lies and friends.

Dodge said it is im­por­tant for com­mu­nity mem­bers to un­der­stand what the hospice ben­e­fit is all about. She said stigma sur­round­ing hospice, fear and hon­est con­ver­sa­tions with one­self, fam­ily and physi­cians all in­hibit those in need from seek­ing hospice sup­port.

“We care for pa­tients re­gard­less of their in­surance or fi­nan­cial stand­ing. So there are quite a few pa­tients that do not have in­surance that we’ve cared for — to make sure that they get the ser­vices that they need for endof-life care,” Dodge said.

Dodge said there are sev­eral myths associated with hospice care.

“I think one of the myths about hospice is that it’s about giv­ing up, and it’s not about giv­ing up,” Dodge said. “Our com­mu­nity should look at hospice as an­other op­tion of care.”

An­other myth, she said, is hospice care only is care in the last few days of life. She said the ear­lier the bet­ter when it comes to hospice care, and care can range from days to months.

“The value of hav­ing this sup­port­ive team around you at a very sa­cred and per­sonal, in­ti­mate time of life ... the com­mu­nity doesn’t re­al­ize that we can be there for a longer pe­riod of time — it’s not just for those last few days of cri­sis,” Dodge said.

She said char­ity care also is pro­vided at home — wher­ever a pa­tient may live — a pri­vate res­i­dence, as­sisted liv­ing, a nurs­ing home or a fam­ily mem­ber’s house.

Mon­a­han said the or­ga­ni­za­tion “is about liv­ing life to the fullest — to the very last day.”

“That’s what we try to do with so many of our ser­vices — eas­ing pain and eas­ing bur­dens, and en­sur­ing com­fort,” Mon­a­han said. “Peo­ple find the con­cept of hospice scary ... we al­ways en­cour­age peo­ple to come to Hospice House and visit, be­cause there’s lots of laugh­ter, there’s love ... it shouldn’t be a scary thing.”

“All of us are go­ing to be faced with an end-of-life chap­ter at one time or an­other, and the myr­iad of ser­vices that we can pro­vide ... All of those mem­bers sup­port and rally around the pa­tient and the fam­ily. It’s not just the pa­tient’s jour­ney, it’s the fam­ily’s jour­ney, as well,” Dodge said.

Dodge said sup­port en­ables fam­i­lies to bet­ter find joy in the life that was lived, and find com­fort and heal­ing with mem­o­ries.

“Hospice is an in­cred­i­ble as­set in the com­mu­nity. Hospice is re­ally about liv­ing — mak­ing the most of your life, mak­ing the most of mem­o­ries,” Dodge said. “We are the ex­perts in pain and symp­tom man­age­ment. We’re meet­ing the pa­tients and fam­i­lies where they are. We’re en­ter­ing their sphere of care ... Ev­ery­thing is tai­lored to their wants, de­sires and needs.”

Since 1986, Friends of Hospice has raised funds for Tal­bot Hospice by pre­sent­ing the an­nual Fes­ti­val of Trees. The fes­ti­val an­nu­ally as­sists the op­er­at­ing bud­get for Tal­bot Hospice, which ben­e­fits ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients and fam­i­lies in Tal­bot County fac­ing life-lim­it­ing ill­ness.

The Fes­ti­val of Trees, run by Friends of Hospice, will con­tinue through Sun­day, Nov. 26. at the Tide­wa­ter Inn in Eas­ton. A homes tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun­day, Nov. 26, and tick­ets and in­for­ma­tion can be found on­line at www.fes tival-of-trees.org.

Tal­bot Hospice’s hol­i­day ap­peal also is tak­ing place, and com­mu­nity mem­bers are en­cour­aged to con­tact the or­ga­ni­za­tion to make a do­na­tion. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit tal­both­os­pice.org.

PHOTOS BY TOM MC­CALL PHO­TOG­RA­PHY From left are Sheila Mon­a­han, “A Night in Italy” gala co-chair­man and Tal­bot Hospice board mem­ber; Diane Rohman, Tal­bot Hospice board pres­i­dent; Hynda Dal­ton, gala co-chair­man and board mem­ber; and Tal­bot Hospice Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Vi­vian Dodge.

Deb­bie and Michael Pot­ter dance dur­ing Tal­bot Hospice’s fundraiser din­ner and danc­ing event, “A Night in Italy.”

From left, Susie Dil­lon, Max­ine Far­rell and gala co-chair­man Hynda Dal­ton en­joy “A Night in Italy,” Tal­bot Hospice’s re­cent fundraiser in sup­port of its ser­vices and pro­grams.

Howard Zwe­mer and Frankie Thor­ing­ton cel­e­brate “A Night in Italy” Oct. 21, which helped raise more than $130,000 for Tal­bot Hospice ser­vices and pro­grams.

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