Don’t worry, we’ve planned your Saturday

Posted September 18, 2014 by hpccr
Categories: fundraising, hospice, Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, special events

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manger

September is always a busy month here at HPCCR.  As you know, we just had our Hit the Brixx 10K / 5K last weekend.  (What a turnout, by the way!  More participants than ever, despite the soul-crushing humidity!)  Well, we’re doubling up on events this weekend because, you know, we like to give you a choice when it comes to supporting our organization.

This weekend, you can either shoot guns (safely) or eat appetizers and drink wine.  Or do both.  Your call.

Bull Shooters Logo_30First up is the Shoot For Joy sporting clay fundraiser, an event hosted by the Mecklenburg Bull Shooters.  It starts at 8am on Saturday morning.  You can shoot clay targets during the morning session, take a break for lunch (and a raffle!) and then shoot again during the afternoon session.  You can go solo or as a team and all shooting levels are welcome!  For more information, visit the event page on our website.

taste of bv words_2013Your other option is our annual Taste of Birkdale, which supports Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman.  It starts in the afternoon on Saturday (3pm) and you get to sample entrées from some of Birkdale’s best restaurants and wine from Total Wine.  After you’ve enjoyed those delectable treats, you can feast your eyes on fall’s latest must-haves during the fashion show that starts at 7pm at the fountain.  This evening never disappoints.  Check out the Taste of Birkdale page on our website for all the details.

So there you have it.  We’ve planned your weekend for you.  You’re welcome.


A little rain never hurt you

Posted September 11, 2014 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, Chameleon's Journey, Hit the Brixx, hospice, Kids Path, special events

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

???????????????I think we can all agree that this summer has been fairly mild compared to recent years.  The number of 90-plus days has certainly been reasonable.  In fact, until the last few weeks came upon us, I thought that maybe we’d somehow gotten away with what I’ll call a “demi-summer”.  Alas, it was not meant to be.  The nasty heat and humidity came back with sudden force right before Labor Day and, yes, we’ve all wilted.  We could use a little rain to break the heat!

Funny I should mention that.  We just might get some rain this Saturday (September 13) which, coincidentally, is our annual Hit The Brixx 5K / 10K Run Walk.  But you wouldn’t let a little rain deter you from getting out there and killing the course, would you?  I certainly won’t.  Because lemme tell ya, I’ve had some draining, hot suffer-fests over the past few weeks where I was actually dreaming about a certain run I had in the pouring rain a couple of months ago.  Honestly?  It was glorious!

So, if you haven’t already signed up, do it now, before the price goes up on Saturday.  Both races start and finish at the uptown location of Brixx Pizza (their 6th street location).  The 10K starts at 7:45am, and if you’re nuts like me, you can run the 10K and then fit in the 5K at 9am with no problem.  Because you know what’s waiting for you at the finish line, right?  Brixx Pizza and beer.  A most delightful combination indeed!  And it tastes even better early in the morning when you’re supposed to be indulging in cereal and milk.

You know what makes it even better?  Your race entry fee, which allows you to run a few miles and then enjoy amazing pizza and cold beer, goes to support such a worthy cause.  Proceeds benefit Kids Path®, the pediatric care program of HPCCR.  Kids Path helps children and teens coping with long-term or life-threatening illnesses by offering services tailored specifically to their needs and those of their families.  Included as part of our Kids Path program is the Chameleon’s Journey™ grief camp, a weekend retreat (this year on October 11 and 12) for grieving children and teens.  Your entry fee will be put to good use in your community, that’s for sure!

So come out on Saturday and celebrate the end of our demi-summer. And so what if it rains?  After a slice and a few beers, you’ll only remember the fun you had!

BONUS!  From now until Monday, September 15, for every pizza you purchase, Brixx will donate either $3 (from the 10-inch) or $1 (from the kids pizza) to Kids Path!  Just bring in this form (Brixx Buxx Flyer), fill it out, and you’ve helped us out even more!   

To register for the race, visit the registration page on the Run For Your Life website.  For more information about Kids Path, visit  


The freedom of a cowboy

Posted September 5, 2014 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, cancer, caregiving, hospice, spiritual care

Tags: , , , ,

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Bobby in cart_com

Bobby loves the freedom the golf cart allows

Two horses recently got married up in Harrisburg.  That sounds crazy, I know.  But it happened.  It was a simple, quick, completely spur-of-the-moment ceremony with little fanfare; just a few traditional and very reverent words spoken.  I’m betting the horses didn’t feel any different afterward.  But the man who married them got a tremendous kick out of the whole thing.  Because that’s the kind of unique and sweet sense of humor this multi-dimensional man possesses.

Bobby Blackwell and his wife Jolean live on 50 acres of beautiful property about 15 miles outside of Charlotte.  They have five horses, two donkeys, a slew of chickens, and a couple of dogs.  Bobby is a man of the land and a cowboy through and through (he’s lived on several ranches in Texas) so he’s not the type who can live within tight boundaries.  He is rugged yet utterly and completely charming.

Bobby and his wife, Jolean

Bobby and his wife, Jolean

A few years ago, Bobby found out he had cancer.  He tried not to let that hold him back.  Up until recently, he was able to roam his property at will.  He didn’t walk around as much, but he could get into his truck and get where he needed to go.  But last month, getting in and out of the truck became extremely difficult.  He thought his roaming days were over.

Fact is, Bobby really needs to be able to get around on his 50 acres.  For lots of reasons.  But primarily, he wants to visit his animals.  And he wants to preach.

The Double Horseshoe Cowboy Church

The Double Horseshoe Cowboy Church

On his property (quite a way from his house) stands a small, sturdy building — the aptly named Double Horseshoe Cowboy Church.  Bobby had the church built several years ago. As the pastor of this adorable church, he shows up every Tuesday night at 7pm (without fail), to stand at the pulpit, share the word of the Lord, and minister to the souls of his congregation, however many that may be on a given evening.

Throughout all of his treatments, he never missed a Tuesday night at the church.  Jolean would sit behind him in a chair, just to be there to catch him in case he fell.  He never has.  In fact, sometimes Jolean got a workout just following him up and down the aisle because he could get extremely energized while preaching.  But getting him to the church had become easier said than done.  Until last month.

Using the truck had simply become too hard, and Bobby and Jolean realized they needed another mode of transportation.  They started batting around the idea of a golf cart.  A request was made at a hospice team meeting and an HPCCR board member heard about the dilemma.  She started making phone calls and after a “I know someone who knows someone” situation, a family agreed to loan the Blackwells their golf cart so that Bobby could continue to get around.

Bobby, inside his church

Bobby, inside his church

I went out to visit Bobby and Jolean a couple of weeks ago.  Bobby was like a proud new papa.  He was delighted with how easy it is to get in and out of the golf cart.  He was downright giddy with how well the cart handled the hills on his property.  He drove me (as well as a photographer and an HPCCR social worker) from his house to his church, and up to the campground they’ve cleared out near the church.  We saw the barn, and the horses, and two adorable donkeys.  Throughout the trip, the cart managed the terrain like a dream, smooth and comfortable.  Bobby could not have been more thrilled.

The golf cart has given Bobby some of his freedom back.  “I’m a cowboy so I’m used to being outside.  I never thought I could get depressed, but sitting in the house too much was really hard.  Now I can see my horses or visit my campground.  It’s helped me so much.”

He’s also thrilled with the care he has received from Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region.  He’s not used to being the center of attention from an entire team of people whose job it is to keep him comfortable.  In his own words, “As a preacher, I’m the one who cares for others.  I guess it’s my turn to have that given to me.”  He’s in awe of his care team members, who visit him every week.  “They are just so concerned about me.  They have so much compassion.”

Bobby may be under hospice care, but he just can’t be cooped up.  It’s not in his cowboy nature.  He needs to be out and about with his devoted wife, preaching, carving (you should see what he can do with a piece of wood), assessing his property, playing the banjo (have you guessed he’s multi-talented??) and visiting his animals.

When we were riding in the cart back to the house, I saw the newlywed horses with my own eyes.  And then I saw the pair of donkeys.  I think they’re next.


Bobby Blackwell and HPCCR sincerely thank everyone who helped make the golf cart loan happen.  From Bobby’s care team to our HPCCR board member to the gracious family who owns the golf cart, we are honored and humbled by your compassion.  You know who you are!





How an apron can help the brain

Posted August 27, 2014 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, dementia, end of life, hospice

Tags: , , , ,

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

aprons 08 14

Three generous sewers from Queen of Apostles Church in Belmont who have been making aprons, (l to r): Eleanor Urby, Alison Nolting, and Lynn Spada. Not pictured is Judy Kubacki who has also worked tirelessly to make fidget aprons.

In my kitchen I have about seven or eight aprons hanging from a peg on the wall.  They’ve been there so long that I barely notice them.  I pull one or two of them out during the holidays (when I start baking like a crazy person), but for the most part, the simple concept of an apron doesn’t occupy any space in my brain.  But now I have a new appreciation for aprons because, with a few simple modifications, I know that they are capable of much, much more than just clothing protection when cooking.  They can actually benefit the brain.

People are often surprised to learn that nearly 20% of HPCCR hospice patients in 2013 had some form of dementia.  No one really thinks of dementia as causing death but as cells die in the brain, many functions in the body begin to shut down as well.

Watching a loved one succumb to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is especially stressful. Communication becomes difficult and eventually moves to nearly impossible.  Family and friends are anxious to make connections, but have no idea how.  And they feel helpless looking for something to soothe the restlessness that often accompanies dementia.

Enter the fidget apron.

We’ve written about the fidget apron before.  Last year, we asked for community members to help out by making one (or donating the fabric) to contribute to our goal of 300 aprons for dementia patients in Charlotte and surrounding areas.  Well, we’d like your help again.

A few generous souls (who also happen to be wonderful sewers) at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Belmont are currently making fidget aprons for HPCCR.  And our clinical staff members are swiping those aprons for dementia patients as fast as they come off the sewing machines.  In fact, there’s a waiting list.

That’s because these aprons are very soothing to patients with dementia.  They have pockets as well as maneuverable items affixed to them to keep restless hands busy.  And when the hands are busy, the patient is calmer and slightly more open to communication.  It’s no wonder the aprons are in such demand.

You can help by donating cloth for an apron or by donating some of the fun items that get sewn onto the apron: fur, fringe, large buttons, beads, keys, nylon cord, and zippers (to name just a few).  So far, the women at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church have been spending their own money to buy the materials for the aprons and, as you can imagine, that slightly hinders the process a bit.  I can’t imagine how many they could make if they had the materials already purchased and readily available at their fingertips. . .

So consider helping out.  Buy some fabric or some fringe and donate it to this very worthy cause.  We have a staff member at HPCCR, Cheryl Fleming, who is a parishoner of Queen of Apostles Catholic Church and would be happy to help coordinate the drop off or pick up of your donation.

Me, I’ve got my eye on a few of those aprons hanging on the peg in my kitchen.  I certainly don’t need all of them, especially knowing how much they could help our patients.  And I’m sure a few of them would look even cuter with some fur and fringe.  And maybe a few buttons.

We need you

Posted August 19, 2014 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, blog, hospice, Levine & Dickson Hospice House

Tags: , , ,

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

ABCaresYou like this blog, right?  We offer heartwarming, good-for-the-soul stories on a weekly basis, don’t we?  Plus, we throw in some funny from time to time too.  And we do this over and over again, week after week, asking for nothing in return.

Until now.

Now we need your help.  Our very own Levine & Dickson Hospice House – Huntersville has been nominated for Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group’s community outreach program – ABCares.  This means that we have the chance to have $2,500 donated to our organization.  I repeat — $2,500.  But here’s where your part comes in; the amount of money we receive depends on the number of votes we get between now and Friday, August 29th at noon.  Votes from you.

Here’s what you can do:

  • You can vote every single day at (click the ABCares Tab to vote) or at on their webpage.  (If you access the Facebook page, you’ll need to “like” the page before you can vote.)
  • Send this link to your family and friends so they too can vote daily for LDHH-H.
  • Post on all your social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) with the #ABCares and the voting link and/or

The winner will be announced at the end of the day on Friday, August 29th.  We will be on pins and needles until that time, hoping that our votes and your votes are enough to put us at the top.

Folks, with your help, I think we have a really good shot at winning.  But we’ve got some serious work to do.  There are four other very worthy organizations vying for the money and so far, most of them have more votes than we do.  You can change that.  Go out and vote!  Every day!  Plus, you can vote with your smart phone separately from your computer, meaning that you can technically vote TWICE a day.  Do it.

I’d say we owe you one, but after all the awesome content you’ve enjoyed here over the past few years, wouldn’t you say we’re even?

Seriously, thank you for your help.  Let’s do this.



Thank you, Mrs. Doubtfire

Posted August 13, 2014 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, end of life, grief, hospice

Tags: , ,

by Larry Dawalt, HPCCR Senior Director of Spiritual & Grief Care Services 

robin williamsMy favorite barista at Starbucks was subdued and solemn this morning as she quietly asked if I had heard about the death of Robin Williams.

Her grief was sincere and genuine as was the grief of dozens of my Facebook friends who had taken to social media Monday night to express their feelings of shock, disbelief, numbness, and loss.  I share those feelings and am experiencing a dark wave of loss today, not unlike what overcame me at the loss of Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, Corey Monteith, Phillips Seymour Hoffman, Maya Angelou and other celebrities that I knew, but did not know.

Why do we grieve celebrities?  I think John James and Russell Friedman of The Grief Recovery Institute said it well when they wrote that, “Unresolved grief is about undelivered communications of an emotional nature.”

What that means to me is that I didn’t get to say “thank you” for the smiles, laughter, thoughts, and even tears that Robin Williams brought me through his roles; and I didn’t get to provide any words of comfort for his real-life sorrow and pain.

One day after the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt in 2001, I remember a television reporter asking me how we get over this and move on.  My answer then is my answer this morning — we don’t get over it today or tomorrow or the next day.  But our sense of loss can eventually become mixed with gratitude as we think about the happiness and joy we experienced from that person.

So today, with a genuine Dr. Sean Maguire (Good Will Hunting) hug, I say thank you to Mork from Ork (Mork and Mindy), T.S. Garp (The World According to Garp), Vladimir Ivanov (Moscow on the Hudson), Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning, Vietnam), John Keating (Dead Poets Society), Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Awakenings), Parry (The Fisher King), Peter Pan (Hook, Back to Neverland), Dr. Kosevich (Nine Months), Alan Parrish (Jumanji), Armand Goldman (The Birdcage), Professor Philip Brainard (Flubber), Hunter Adams (Patch Adams), Tom Dobbs (Man of the Year), Wizard Wallace (August Rush), Reverend Frank (License to Wed), and all the others characters that made Robin Williams a household name.

And closing my eyes, I hear the precious words of Mrs. Doubtfire to Katie McCormick at the end of the movie: “If there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever.  All my love to you, poppet… you’re going to be all right… bye-bye.”

Thank you, Robin Williams… bye-bye.

A match made in heaven

Posted August 6, 2014 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, end of life, hospice, long-term care, volunteering

Tags: , , , ,

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Ellen and Vera have a lot in common, a love of NC State is just one of them!

Ellen and Vera have many things in common.  A love of NC State is just one of them!

Some things are just meant to be.  And isn’t it great when you find yourself in one of those situations where you realize there is a higher power at work, arranging some of the details of your life?

That’s what happened with Ellen Seale, HPCCR volunteer, when she went to visit Vera for the very first time.  Vera is a Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region patient at an assisted living facility in south Charlotte.  When Ellen walked into Vera’s room for the first time, she noticed a lot of red.  Wolfpack red.  She saw pictures strewn around the room of people (from babies to adults) wearing NC State gear.  Naturally, Ellen asked Vera what her connection was to NC State.  Turns out, Vera’s son graduated from the school.  And what a coincidence — Ellen’s daughter did too!  In fact, Ellen’s daughter has multiple degrees from NC State and was recently the recipient of a lifetime award given to notable alumni.

So right off the bat, they had a lot in common.  Both Vera and Ellen avidly follow NC State sports teams.  And they now catch as many games together on TV as possible.  But that’s not all they have in common.  Their birthdays are just days apart.  In fact, Ellen’s very first visit with Vera happened on Vera’s birthday.

Ellen has been visiting Vera since October of last year.  And she rarely shows up empty-handed.  Vera is a big fan of milkshakes and — another coincidence — there’s a Cookout right across the street from Vera’s facility.  So Ellen makes a stop there before almost every visit and comes armed with a mint chocolate chip milkshake, which delights Vera to no end.  (As it should.  Have you had a Cookout milkshake?  If not, I recommend you go there immediately.  It is heaven in a Styrofoam cup.  You’re welcome.)

It is so gratifying when we see our hospice patients living their lives to the fullest.  And we are proud to be able to offer them new and rewarding relationships (through our amazing volunteers) that enhance their lives even more.  I’m imagining Vera decked in Wolfpack gear, watching a game, and sipping a milkshake with Ellen beside her.  A match literally made in heaven (because again, that higher power thing is obviously at work here, don’t you think?)  And I also imagine that, as far as Vera’s concerned, it doesn’t get much better than that.






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