Giving Circle Celebrates 30th Annual Summer Hospice Breakfast
MONROE — Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s Newtown Chapter Giving Circle celebrated the milestone 30th anniversary of its Summer Breakfast on Wednesday, June 12, at The Waterview.
Each year, the event gives thanks to the community and its volunteers for their generous support and raises additional funds so Regional Hospice and Palliative Care can continue its end-of-life care for patients and their families.
The 2019 Newtown Chapter Giving Circle consisted of co-chairs Marg Studley and Marie Sturdevant and committee members Marilyn Alexander, Ellyn Gehrett, Colleen Honan, Janet Hovious, Linda Trentacosta, and Laurie Wrabel.
After guests perused the many raffle items provided by local donors and businesses, they took their seats, filling more than 35 tables throughout The Waterview’s main dining area. Newtown Police Honor Guard Officers William Chapman, Richard Monckton, Matthew Hayes, and Benjamin Mulhall started off the ceremony holding the Connecticut and American flags at attention as guests joined in the Pledge of Allegiance
Sharing the microphone as Masters of Ceremonies, Ms Studley and Ms Sturdevant welcomed everyone and thanked the many individuals and groups involved in making this event a success, including the staff of The Waterview and the hospice volunteers.
Monsignor Robert E. Weiss of St Rose of Lima Catholic Church provided an opening prayer and blessing as everyone in attendance bowed their heads reverently.
On behalf of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care President/CEO Cynthia Roy, Laura Shulman Cordeira, director of volunteer services and public relations, gave an overview on the group’s recent initiative to expand.
“Our center has actually been full since July, and there’s a waiting list, so it became apparent to us that not only was there a need for this type of a center that provided end-of-life care in our community, but there is a greater need than we ever anticipated,” she explained.
As a result, more patient suites are being added to their existing facility in Danbury, including rooms geared for pediatric patients.
Along with expansion updates, Ms Cordeira also let people know about recent wishes they have granted for patients and thanked their wonderful staff, roughly 400 volunteers, and the organization’s donors for their generosity.
“What we are doing is not just supporting people at the end of life, we’re helping them live those final days,” she said.
Ms Cordeira added that they are always looking for new volunteers.
For those that think the environment is too sad or depressing for them, she said, “I just want to reassure you that working with hospice patients, working with people at the end of life, is one of the most life-affirming, one of the most loving, caring, kind times in a person’s life, and I encourage you all to challenge yourselves to be there for people.”
Ms Cordeira then introduced the morning’s testimonial speaker, Magdalen Livesey, mother of Sarah Livesey, who died this past February at the age of 46.
“Sarah was diagnosed with stage three incurable brain cancer in February 2015,” she explained.
Ms Livesey honored her daughter by speaking about her life before she became ill — including experiences with school, traveling, and her career.
Her daughter lived symptom-free for almost three years and followed her own healing path that concentrated on nutrition, alternative therapies, and spiritual practices.
When she started to develop symptoms and went to Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, Ms Livesey said, “…it was immediately clear it was the perfect place for her to spend her last weeks.”
She described the Center for Comfort Care and Healing as a homelike setting with dedicated staff, whose love and support was palpable and evident; it also was a place where her daughter could still be together with her beloved cat.
“Anything we needed or wanted was provided, and the staff became an extension of our family…” Ms Livesey said. “We will be forever grateful.”
Concluding the Summer Breakfast, was the highly anticipated raffle drawing, done by Newtown Chapter Giving Circle members.
Raffle donors included Avance Day Spa, Bagel Delight, BD Provisions, Brushworks, Butcher’s Best Country Market, Café Xpresso, Caraluzzi’s Market, Cork N Barrel, Farmhouse Restaurant, Fashion Exchange, Ferris Acres Creamery, Klickers Hair Studio, Kristine Beckman, Joanne’s Fitness Studio, Debbie Aurelia Halstead, JP Maguire Associates, Market Place Kitchen & Bar, and Terri Ann Martocci.
Among other donors were My Place, Newtown Car Care, Newtown Color Center, Newtown Country Club, Newtown Florist, Newtown Nails, Newtown Yoga Center, Nick’s Chilled and Distilled, Nina Nail Spa, Master Carver David O’Konsky, Bitty Birdie Design Barbara Patrick, Planter’s Choice, Ricci’s Salon, Sal e Pepe, The Toy Tree, The Trentacosta’s, UK Gourmet, Villarina Pasta Shop, and individuals who wished to remain anonymous.