Friends of Hospice turns 25 |

Friends of Hospice turns 25

Friends of Hospice is celebrating its 25th year in Nevada County and on Tuesday the Alta Sierra Country Club was the setting for looking back over what the group has accomplished.

Andy Owens, president of the Hospice of the Foothills Board of Directors, greeted 92 luncheon guests, personally thanking those present for “making a difference in the community.”

Hospice of the Foothills volunteers come to the aid of those diagnosed with a terminal illness and walk with the family through the process, offering care during the final months of a loved one’s life. Friends of Hospice is the fundraising auxiliary of Hospice of the Foothills.

A touching reminder of the work that hospice does was poignantly presented Tuesday by Cindy Valer, a recipient of hospice’s care.

After Valer lost her husband of 30 years, she was invited by a friend to attend one of hospice’s support groups. Suffering from grief and loss, and feeling like she was losing control, Valer decided to attend the class. She learned that what she was feeling was normal for a grieving person.

“I sincerely believe they saved my life,” said Valer, whose mother is currently being visited by hospice. “I am overwhelmed with their compassion, their caring and their professional attitude.”

Valer went on to say that her mom wanted her to relay a message to the volunteers: her mom feels as if she has lots of friends now and she is never lonely.

In 1981, Pat Chargin, wife of a local physician, decided it was time to start raising money to help hospice. Twenty-three past and current presidents have now served – and the work goes on.

Many community events have contributed to the cause. The volunteers have not lacked new fundraising ideas. Most of these events were reviewed and enjoyed once again during Tuesday’s luncheon with a slideshow presentation by Linda Rasmussen.

Revisited events included fashion shows like “A Touch of Elegance” in 1988 and “Roman Holiday” in 1991, plus other fundraisers like “Elegante Junque,” “Autumn in the Foothills,” a “Gold Fever Chili Cookoff,” and even a “Hair-A-Thon.”

Rasmussen and Terry Eichenlaub, current co-presidents, presented past presidents of Friends of Hospice with a long-stemmed red rose. Encouraging reports included a wrap-up of the Arts and Flowers event held on March 31 and April 1, with more than 700 people attending and $24,000 raised for Hospice of the Foothills.

Friends of Hospice is currently involved in a major campaign to raise funds to build, furnish, landscape and maintain a new facility called Hospice Home. Its “Raise the Roof Gala” will be held Sept. 9. The Friends of Hospice membership roster, which consists of 170 volunteers, will be working together to produce this event and many others this year.

In 1981, Friends of Hospice was able to contribute $4,000 to Hospice of the Foothills. They have increased their contributions every year and have given more than $1 million to local hospice care.

• Jail and Bail, mid May

• Butterfly Garden of Remembrance, May 27, 28, 29

• Breakfast in the Park, July 9

• Third Annual Gala, Sept. 9

• Tree of Love lighting and reception, Dec. 7

Hospice of the Foothills

12399 Nevada City Highway

Grass Valley 95945

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