‘La Dolce Vita’
‘A Night in Italy’ raises $130K for Talbot Hospice
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.