Posted tagged ‘hospice’

The power in one word

April 13, 2016

by Carol Anne Lawler, HPCCR Faith Community Educator

one word imageOne of the benefits of being the Faith Community Educator for Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region is the privilege of presenting information to faith communities and other groups about some aspect of end-of-life care. We often say we can’t ‘add years to your life’, but we can ‘add life to your years’. To that end, I developed a Healthy Aging presentation to do just that! My goal is to communicate how our mind, body, and spirit are all connected and when we do one thing it affects the other aspects of our lives as well. I have experienced this connection first-hand and would like to share a few observations.

In 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the School of the Spirit that consists of four retreats over the course of the year to deepen and expand the participants’ spiritual life. One of the practices is called Centering Prayer. In this form of meditation, rather than focus on the breath or on using a mantra, each person chooses a ‘sacred word’ that is said when one’s thoughts begin to veer off course. The word is used as a gentle reminder to return one’s mind and energies to meditate. The sacred word effectively reminds me of what I know to be true.

Not only has the power of a single word been helpful in my spiritual life, my body has witnessed the power of a single word as well. Let me explain. Since our children have become adults and are now living on their own, my husband and I have more time to pursue activities that are of interest. We can frequently be seen at the Dowd YMCA taking a cycle or ‘spin’ class, as it is called, most Saturday mornings and/or Thursday evenings. When the instructor wants to motivate the class to go faster, she will say the word PUSH! Because of my competitive spirit (even with myself), I began saying PUSH…PUSH… PUSH…(to myself of course), and to my amazement, I watch my speed increase. If, by saying a single word, I can help align my spirit to reflect my values and increase my peddle speed on my stationary bike, what can you and I accomplish with a single action toward what is good?

I am reminded of a quote I heard when I was just 16 years old. (My long-term memory serves me well.) I was taking the classroom part of Driver’s Education in the summer and our instructor wrote these words on the blackboard:“I am but one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something….and by the grace of God, I will do the one thing I can do.” I am convinced; there is at least one thing you and I can do to add healing to the world. The recipe for change, then, is this: change a word + change an action = positive results!

When I was young I long sought the answers to life’s important issues. Now that I am older, I am convinced that asking the right questions holds the key to what matters most.

Here are few questions for consideration: How have I loved this hour? Whom have I helped? How have I lived my principles? As we move into spring may we remember the power of a single word and the strength of a single action can not only add life to our years, it can add new life to our world.

The above article will be published in the summer edition of All About Seniors, a comprehensive resource and referral directory available in North and South Carolina for older adults, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

The perfect act

February 17, 2016

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Random Acts of Kindness DaySo how are you celebrating today? I know, there are just so many things you could choose to do, it’s hard to pick the perfect act. Wait, you don’t know what day it is, do you?

Well, Happy National Random Acts of Kindness Day!

What a great concept, huh?

Today is the day to do something special for another person. Just a small act; it doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. Pay for someone’s coffee behind you in line. Send a card to someone who has been going through a rough patch. Bake cookies. There are a million things you could do.

Hospice care is all about random acts of kindness. Our staff does them every day. It’s a nurse carefully trimming the fingernails of a patient, a social worker finding a recording of the song that a couple first danced to at their wedding.  It’s a nursing assistant gently bathing a patient, and a chaplain honoring the end-of-life religious traditions of a Buddhist family.  It’s these random acts of kindness that the families remember when reflecting on a good death; they are what prompt families to say that their experience with hospice was peaceful and beautiful.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been grand gestures too. Our patient getting to see Star Wars before she died, for example. Finding a golf cart for a patient who needed to get around his property but didn’t have the means to do so. Procuring a blimp ride for a patient who had always had it on her bucket list.

But today is about the small things. And maybe today you don’t try to think of the perfect act. Maybe today you just do a bunch of small things to bring a smile to the faces of people you care about. Or a smile to the faces of people you don’t even know. That seems pretty perfect to me.


Join us for Corks & Karats!

November 10, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Corks&Karats Logo_CS4Is anyone else jumping up and down with excitement upon seeing that glorious sun up in the sky today? And if you’ve looked at the weekend forecast, your happy dance won’t be ending any time soon. It should be a perfect fall weekend with sunny skies and cool temperatures. Why does that matter? Because we’re having our annual Corks & Karats fundraiser on Saturday and no rain means happy attendees!

I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if we’d held this event last weekend — humidity wreaking havoc on styled hair, trying to walk in heels in the torrential rain, awkwardly carrying prizes back to the car underneath wobbly umbrellas . . . (Wow, men just have it so much easier, don’t they?!)

Anyway, Corks & Karats is a delightful event with guests dressed to the nines, delicious food, a phenomenal band, tasty drinks, and auction items worth sparring over!  In fact, the online auction is already open so you can go ahead and stake your claim on the items you want. Food, wine, jewelry, tickets to local sporting events, vacations, artwork, and more. There really is something for everyone! And having an auction preview can help you create your battle strategy for successfully acquiring those must-have goodies.

But you must have a ticket to get in. Which means if you haven’t already purchased them, you need to go online and do so. Now.

There are a few other things happening on Saturday night you won’t want to miss. We’re featuring a speaker who’s going to tell you a story that will slice your heart wide open (in a good way, don’t worry). You’ll have an opportunity to “raise your glass” and make a direct donation to send a child to Chameleon’s Journey grief camp or pay for a day or week of hospice care. We’ll have a fun game called “heads or tails” where you’ll have the opportunity to win a designer purse or suitcase filled with amazing prizes. Needless to say, it’s going to be a hoppin’ night and we want you to be there!

So join us at Carmel Country Club on Saturday night. The fun starts at 6:30pm and won’t end until every last person has danced until their feet ache and walked away with some great auction items. Into the cool, crisp, no-umbrella-needed, non-rainy night.

Tickets for Corks & Karats are $125 which you can purchase on the Shop HPCCR page of our website. And we still have party host and table host opportunities available. Contact Nancy Cole at 704.335.4312 for more information.  

The best in the country

October 7, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Helen and Christy

Helen listens as Christy sings a hymn.

We received a beautiful, heartfelt letter about a month ago from the daughter of a patient. And it touched us. We get letters all the time, but this one made us particularly proud because it came from “one of our own”; Peggy, the woman who wrote the letter, used to work for a hospice in the great state of New York. That means she understands what we do every day and knows how emotional it is to work for a hospice, caring for patients who are dying and guiding their loved ones through this sacred process.

Peggy wrote that she was honored to “help clients to the end with dignity and without pain; their family’s well-being was of the utmost importance to me, along with meeting any other need they may have had.” So we figured that when it comes to recognizing exceptional care, Peggy was certainly qualified.

Last week, a few of us went to visit Peggy and her mother, Helen, who has been under the care of Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman since February. Helen is bed-bound but in great spirits — kind and loving to her family and her hospice care team. She is a tiny thing with a huge personality. A devout Catholic, she had been closely following the Pope’s United States tour and was happy to talk to those of us in the room about his travels. Helen graciously received our compliments on her beautiful skin and youthful appearance (which belied her 96 years) and she listened with great appreciation as Christy, our VP of Philanthropy (who also happens to have a gorgeous voice), sang her a hymn.

It was a short visit but a rewarding one. Helen has clearly been enjoying her life under the careful and gentle care of Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman. Her daughter Peggy could not tell us enough how impressed she has been with every care team member. In fact, in her letter she wrote, “They give their hearts every day. This team is the best in the country. Yes, I said country, not county!”

So apparently our approval rating is up there with the Pope’s. We’ll take it.

A lovely bench

September 30, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

Kapustin benchA lovely bench sits in the courtyard of Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster honoring the memory of a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. Rafael Kapustin came to the hospice house in September of last year and spent his final days with us, finally free of the pain that had plagued him for so long.

Residents of Miami, Rafael and his wife Sara came to Charlotte so that Rafael could participate in a trial at the Levine Cancer Institute. They chose Charlotte because their son Andrew lives here with his lovely wife and beautiful children, all of whom would be able to visit Rafael and Sara as often as they’d like.

So from April until September 2014, Rafael endured the treatment. He spent quality time with his family and he followed the trial protocol.  He relished in the proximity to loved ones and gave every last family member memories to forever treasure.  More importantly, he was able to achieve an important life goal he had set upon entering treatment: witnessing the bar mitzvahs of his twin grandsons, which he joyfully did just one month before he died.  At the end of September, however, with his pain escalating, he opted for comfort care.  Upon the recommendation of his doctor, he came to Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster.

Rafael spent a restful week there with his family. He had welcome relief from his pain and passed away peacefully after many visits from friends and loved ones. His family was so appreciative of his week there that they purchased a bench in his memory and placed it in the courtyard. Just last week, almost a year exactly after his death, his family gathered once more at Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster for a dedication service. The service was full of wisdom and warmth, qualities that Rafael always embodied and that his family truly cherished.

A lovely bench sits in the courtyard of Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster.  And  thanks to the Kapustin family, it will offer a peaceful and welcoming spot for loved ones for years to come.

For information about making a gift to HPCCR in memory of a loved one, contact our Development department at 704.375.0100.

September stress relievers

September 1, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

It’s September 1st which means we are looking right down the barrel at Labor Day, the official “end” of summer.  And so begins the days of desperately wearing our white shoes and toting our white purses one last time before we have to pack them away for another nine months.  And listening (once again) to our children bemoan the cruelty of homework.  (Seriously?  Talk to me again when you start college!)  And unwillingly becoming slaves (once again) to their forgotten project deadlines, their inability to remember upcoming tests, and their inherent lack of concern over the stress these aforementioned things cause us.

You know what’s a great stress reducer?  Exercise.

Pedal_the_Park_logo_Tshirt10And we’ve got great exercise options!  If a fun, scenic biking challenge is what you’re looking for, come join us on Labor Day (Monday, September 7) for Pedal The Park.  It boasts two different rides — 30-mile and 60-mile — leaving from Levine & Dickson Hospice House – Huntersville.  Both self-paced rides meander through Mecklenburg and surrounding counties on well-marked courses.  And you’ll have a delicious buffet waiting for you when you finish.

Pedal The Park registration begins at 8am.  The 60-mile ride starts at 9am, and the 30-miler at 9:30.  And there’s even a short family fun ride at 10am.  So you can’t complain that you have limited options.  Visit our page at to register!

HTB2015-NANCYIf Pedaling The Park’s not your thing, you can Hit the Brixx instead.  Meet us at the uptown location of Brixx Pizza (225 E. 6th St.) on Saturday, September 12 for a 10K and / or a 5K.  The 10K starts at 7:45am and the 5K begins at 9am, perfectly timed so you over-achievers can do both races if you so choose.  And the best part?  The pizza and beer waiting for you at the finish line.  It is, without a doubt, the most fun after-race celebration in town!  You can register for Hit the Brixx at

So join us for either or both of these events!  We can’t promise that doing so will make your kids more responsible about homework, tests, and projects but after all the physically demanding stress relief we’re providing, you just might throw away those boarding school brochures.  At least until next year.

Proceeds from Pedal The Park benefit Levine & Dickson Hospice House – Huntersville and proceeds from Hit The Brixx benefit Kids Path®, our pediatric program.  For more information, contact Nancy Cole, Director of Special Events at or call 704.375.0100.