A special message from Annette Conran, Director of Liberty Hospice:
What do you think of when you hear the word, hospice? For those who dedicate their time to comforting and caring for our patients, being a part of Liberty Hospice means being a part of someone’s life. Our ability to accompany people on their end-of-life journey would not be possible without you. The generosity of our donors allows us to provide the highest level care and service to those who need it most.
Liberty Hospice is proud to serve as a source of hope and comfort for our patients and their families. Every day the Liberty Hospice team makes a difference in a variety of ways, including companion care, pet therapy, music therapy, our We Honor Veterans Programs, and grief counseling.
The Call to Service
For Fred Hopke, chair of the Liberty Lutheran Board of Directors, volunteering with Liberty Hospice was a natural transition from more than 30 years in parish ministry. Now retired from his congregational service, Fred brings the same compassionate care and ministerial spirit with him to serve as a companion to our patients, and as a source of comfort to their families.
“Being a hospice volunteer is about walking with people through their life journey. It’s an opportunity to be attentive, to celebrate their lives, and to listen to stories of how they lived and what they’ve gone through,” Fred shares. “As hospice volunteers we are with patients through a peaceful process. We provide support, dignity, and care.”
You can help support Liberty Hospice in a variety of ways. Every day our volunteers provide companionship to older adults in communities across the Greater Philadelphia Area. With opportunities near you, now is the time to get involved. You can make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families by serving as a companion, or through music therapy, pet therapy, or our We Honor Veterans Program.
“What we do as volunteers isn’t magic, it’s simply giving of ourselves and our time. The principle of stewardship calls upon us to utilize our gifts for a greater good and to help one another. If there is a need in our community, we should seek to fulfill it,” Fred says. “There is a need for hospice volunteers. We add value to our patients and their families. Just as we are born into this world surrounded by others, we make it a mission to ensure that no one ends their journey alone, and that no one goes through the grieving process without support.”
Providing Comfort and Peace of Mind
When Karen Watts, a pet therapy volunteer, started working with Liberty Hospice she didn’t know what to expect. Her dog Finn had been trained through the Comfort Caring Canine Program, but this would be the first opportunity for Karen and Finn to work with those facing life-limiting illnesses.
Throughout his time with Karen’s family, Finn had always demonstrated an incredible amount of affection for those around him, now he would bring that same loving spirit to our patients. At first, Karen thought that Finn would be the one exclusively making an impact on someone’s life; little did she know that she too would be touched by the hospice experience.
“My time with Liberty Hospice has been very rewarding. The impact Finn makes is clear and can be seen in the faces of each patient every time we go visit,” Karen shares. “I’ve seen non-verbal patients become expressive when interacting with him. I’m touched to see him bring joy to others, helping them to open up and find moments of joy just based on his presence.”
Karen’s own experience with her parents’ passing is the driving force behind her involvement. Having lost both her mother and father to cancer, Karen saw a need for hospice programs but didn’t know where to turn.
“Both my mother and father were dog-lovers. Had I known that a program like Liberty Hospice existed, particularly the pet therapy program, I know we would have taken advantage of it and that it would have helped them tremendously,” Karen says. “What I’m doing as a volunteer is in their memory; and although Finn and I couldn’t do what we’re doing for my parents, I want to make sure others are provided with a level of compassionate care that provides peace of mind and comfort.”
You make all the difference. Please consider a gift to Liberty Hospice. If you would like help us as a volunteer, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Jean Irvin, at 775-772-3592 or at [email protected]. Thank you for your continued generosity and the support you provide to help our patients during their end-of-life journeys.