Friday, August 23, 2013

My Son, My Hero

A Miracle Story from Hospice of Santa Cruz County Community Table-

In the last few months Hospice of Santa Cruz County has hosted four community table luncheons with the intent of deepening our connection with our community.  These luncheons let us learn more about the individuals who have been touched by Hospice of Santa Cruz County and allows us to find new ways to stay connected.

Lenore Doler, a new member of our event fundraising group, the Friends of Hospice, brought her friend Kate Engelbrecht-Crow to one of the community table luncheons. Kate mentioned that one of her hobbies is creating memorial quilts for special loved ones in her life.  As a result of her passion, Hospice of Santa Cruz County connected Kate with Bunnie Jacquay, the mother of a 23-year-old veteran who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq.

Bunnie gave Kate a variety of Sgt. Cody Legg’s favorite childhood clothes as well as his military uniforms. With much love, compassion and care, Kate created a stunning gift of warmth, comfort and remembrance.  This unique one-of-a-kind quilt will be presented to Sgt. Cody Legg’s mother, Bunnie, in September -- on what would have been Cody’s 29th Birthday.

We are privileged to display this loving gesture of comfort at Hike-Bike for Hospice of Santa Cruz County. We hope that you take the time to learn more about our Hospice of Santa Cruz County’s We Honor Veterans program that offers special services to our end-of-life veterans.

Thank you to Kate Engelbrecht for your loving gift to Cody’s mother, Bunnie, and to all the individuals that support our We Honor Veterans program here in Santa Cruz County!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Local Quilters and Hospice of Santa Cruz County Honor and Support Veterans

From the Desk of Cathy Conway
Vice President of Communications & Philanthropy

Hike-Bike for Hospice of Santa Cruz County on August 24th is shaping up to be a great opportunity for the community to remember their loved ones and raise funds for our compassionate care programs. I’d like to share with you some exciting news about one of the programs that will be supported at the event, known as the We Honor Veterans Program.

We are delighted that members of the Pajaro Valley Quilters Association created a beautiful quilt, named Comfort at Pearl Harbor, which will be unveiled on August 24. This stunning handmade quilt is a tribute to all the veterans that Hospice of Santa Cruz County serves in our community and supports our We Honors Veterans Program.

Bea Casey and Betty Whitman present the Comfort at Pearl Harbor quilt to Mike Milward, CEO of HSCC at a luncheon to thank the PVQA for their generosity.

HSCC’s We Honors Veterans program is a partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Together we are committed to bringing comfort, dignity, and quality of life to veterans in our community.  Our clinical teams are trained to recognize and provide hospice care that is focused on meeting unique needs of veterans.   And we work to educate our veteran community about our services to increase awareness of and access to hospice care.

More about Quilts of Love
The Pajaro Valley Quilters Association (PVQA) members have made quilts for a variety of non-profit fundraisers for many years and have more than 400 members. They have brought joy and comfort to hundreds of Santa Cruz County residents as a result of their talents and generosity. The Pearl Harbor quilt showcases a variety of vintage Pacific Island fabrics that have been quilted in a stunning geometric pattern known as Flying Geese.

This quilt was created by Bea Casey and Betty Whitman.  Bea, who has been sewing since she was 14 years old, donated all of the vintage fabric.  Betty worked on the quilt diligently while she was recovering from a surgery.

Many of the PVQA members are also involved in making lap quilts for disabled and recovering veterans.  The quilts are collected and taken to VA hospitals in Palo Alto and Menlo Park. We have also received many of these beautiful quilts, which we’ve given to veterans who are receiving our hospice services.

Schedule for the “Traveling” Quilt
People can purchase raffle tickets for the Pearl Harbor quilt at the Hike-Bike event and the other events listed below. (More information about the Hike-Bike event is available at The quilt will “tour” the balance of the year, ending with the winning ticket being selected at our Tree of Lights Ceremony in December.

  • August 24th, 2013 – Hike/Bike for Hospice of Santa Cruz County at the State Forest of Nisene Marks 
  • September 14th, 2013 – Hospice of Santa Cruz County Memorial Wall Open House 
  • December 8th, 2013- Hospice of Santa Cruz County Tree of Lights

All proceeds from the quilt raffle benefit the Hospice of Santa Cruz County We Honor Veterans Program. You do not need to be present to win.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Connecting Through Flowers - The Homeless Garden Project and Hospice of Santa Cruz County

“I have a particular patient who I bring flowers to.  She is a woman who rarely speaks and when she does, her words don’t always make sense,” shares chaplain Paulette Forrest.   “However, the first time I brought her a bouquet, I put them close enough for her to smell and touch.  She said clear as a bell ‘that is the nicest thing anyone has done for me.’  I was amazed.” Paulette is one of the Hospice patient care team members bringing bouquets to her patients.    “She cried and stroked the flowers for some time.  Since then she has not been able to speak much but she always tears up when she sees the flowers and smiles.”

The flower bouquets are donated to Hospice of Santa Cruz County by The Homeless Garden Project, a job training program for homeless men and women.  The program serves on average 15 people who are in need of recovery and teaches trainees about organic farming and general job skills. Many people involved in the program have been out of work for sometime, and the program helps renew confidence in themselves and their overall work ability.

“Bringing flowers out to patients is one of my favorite things to do. Not only are they beautiful, but who doesn't like to receive flowers?”, said Jessica Brandin, HSCC nurse.  “I love talking about the community partnership we have with the Homeless Garden Project.  Patients and their families seem to really like this too, especially the ones who have been in the county for a long time and know about Homeless Garden Project.  Other people who don't know about the project get excited to learn about it.” Social worker, Jori Leslie agrees and shares, “It’s a wonderful feeling to walk into a patient's home with a bouquet of flowers; they usually smile pretty big!”

Another HSCC nurse, Tricia Keenan, became involved in the Homeless Garden Project as a volunteer in the kitchen and is now managing the program's Flower Enterprise. She has the opportunity to work out in the field with Homeless Garden Project trainees and also in the holiday store workshop.  “I have been able to see how the program has helped people regain confidence in themselves through committed work,” said Tricia.  It takes many hands to bring these beautiful bouquets to our patients.  The flowers are planted and maintained by farm trainees and harvested and arranged every Tuesday.  A volunteer from Hospice of Santa Cruz County picks them up and brings them to the office for staff to bring to our patients.

Tricia commented, “The trainees are excited to know that their work is being enjoyed in the community. Not only do they get to be a part of the process of growing healthy organic food but they also are able to grow flowers that inspire others. The trainees are proud to know that their flower bouquets are being distributed to hospice patients. It really is an amazing partnership!”

Employees of Hospice of Santa Cruz County with family members receiving care from HSCC have been touched by the project too.  Linda Stephens, Clinical Administrative Assistant said, “When my Oma was on hospice I would bring her flowers from the project and let me tell you her little face would light up like a Christmas tree!  Even if she was in bed and not feeling well she would ask me to bring the flowers in her room and she would put them on her table so she could look at them.  Oma would tell me the flowers always made her happy.  Of course if you took her a bag of chips with those flowers you were queen for the day. Thanks to all that work at the garden project.”

Hospice of Santa Cruz County is grateful to The Homeless Garden Project for helping us to brighten our patients’ days by connecting through flowers.