PINEHURST – Director Tina Gibbs speaks very frankly about the support FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care gets from the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation.
“Simply put, without the work of the Foundation, we would not be here,” she says.
When it comes to FirstHealth Hospice, “here” has two meanings. The most obvious is the physical presence of the FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care campus with its 11-bed Hospice House, Administrative Building, Chapel and woodland gardens. But it also means the organization’s status as a not-for-profit operation that never denies services to an eligible patient, whether that patient is able to pay for necessary services or not.
That means about $600,000 in Hospice Foundation support each year.
“We have a good and generous community that has freely given over the years to make sure hospice can be in this community,” Gibbs says. “Patients receive everything they need and everything necessary at the end of life according to their plan of care. I’m not sure how many communities can say that.”
For 19 years, the annual Hospice Pottery Auction has been a major fundraising source for the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation. In keeping with the celebration of the 35th year of hospice care in Moore County, however, a different fundraiser is in the making for 2015 – one that will be highlighted by the announcement of the winner of a raffle for a 2015 C300W Mercedes-Benz sedan.
“That’s something we haven’t done before,” says Charlie McWilliams, a past chair of the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation Board who now chairs the group’s Finance Committee.
The raffle winner will be announced during an evening of celebration and memory that will get under way at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, with a reception featuring music, drinks, hors d’oeurves and a silent auction. At 7 p.m., dinner and entertainment provided by emcee Jim Dodson and humorist Jeanne Robertson will follow.
The event is planned for the Cardinal Ballroom of The Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst. Tickets are $125 each, and raffle tickets are $50 each.
The generous sponsorship of the luxury car at the center of attention was arranged by Tommy Holderfield, general manager of Mercedes-Benz of Fayetteville and Pinehurst Auto Mall, whose own family recently experienced FirstHealth Hospice services.
“Everybody is touched by life-limiting illness sometime,” McWilliams says. “Having hospice there is a huge relief. It’s an awareness, but most people aren’t going to understand it until they are involved with it.”
Like Holderfield, Whispering Pines resident Talmage “Tally” Bandy has also been touched by FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care. As an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and a former chaplain with FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, she has had many occasions to observe hospice services.
The experience became very personal, though, when Bandy’s husband of 61 years developed pneumonia two days after Christmas last year. When the symptoms lingered and Claude Bandy’s illness progressed, a family friend suggested that his wife consult with FirstHealth Hospice about palliative care.
He was first admitted to the FirstHealth Hospice House for symptom control and then discharged home, still in Hospice care, less than a week later. His in-home caregivers included a registered nurse who not only paid regular visits, but who was also quickly accessible by phone.
Hospice provided oxygen and all of the medications necessary for his illness.
Nearly five months after her husband’s death on March 7, Tally Bandy especially recalls the close personal attention they both received from every member of the caregiving team – nursing assistant, physical therapist, registered nurse and others.
“Gosh, they were so good at explaining – and not only to me, but to Claude,” she says. “They were just so thorough. When it is your own family, everything you think you know about death and dying goes out the window. The stress level is very high, but they were so kind, and kindness was what I needed.”
Hospice Raffle Offers an Option: You Can Choose a Car or Cash
Participants in the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation Car Raffle actually have three opportunities to be a winner.
First prize for the fundraiser benefiting FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care is a 2015 C300W Mercedes-Benz sedan or, for those who prefer cash, $25,000. Second prize is $1,000, and third prize is $500.
Although names will be announced during a fundraising reception and dinner at the Carolina Hotel on Thursday, Sept. 24, the winners do not have to be present – merely holding the appropriate tickets. Raffle tickets are currently available at $50 each from members of the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation Board, at the various locations of the Pinehurst Auto Group (which is donating the car), at the Prescription Shoppe in Aberdeen and at FirstHealth Fitness-Pinehurst.
All tickets must be purchased by noon on Thursday, Sept. 24, and the drawing will be held that evening at 7 o’clock.
Charlie McWilliams, chair of the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation’s Finance Committee, hopes the raffle will garner lots of interest and even more support for FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care.
“There are so many families in this community dealing with the end of life of a loved one, whether they are in the midst of the dying process or have recently lost someone,” McWilliams says. “FirstHealth Hospice is there for them every step of the way. It is truly a lifesaving service for the family – allowing them to care for their loved one in the most dignified way so that the end of life can be as peaceful as possible.”
Charlie McWilliams, chair of the FirstHealth Hospice Foundation’s Finance Committee, takes the wheel of a 2015 C300W Mercedes-Benz sedan (like the one shown in the second image), as Laura Kuzma, of The Foundation of FirstHealth, enjoys the ride. Tommy Holderfield, general manager of Mercedes-Benz of Fayetteville and Pinehurst Auto Mall, arranged sponsorship of the luxury car as first prize for a raffle benefitting FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care. The winner’s name will be announced during a fundraising reception and dinner to be held Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst.
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