When Will and Barb Burke were asked to serve as community chairs for the Transcending Lives campaign to renovate and expand SOMC Hospice, there wasn’t much question as to how they would respond.
The two had spent approximately 12 years volunteering for the program. They were also part of the original campaign that helped create the facility as it exists today. Given the opportunity to support the program yet again, they signed on immediately.
“We have seen the incredible work of SOMC Hospice,” Barb said. “When we were asked to be involved, we really didn’t hesitate.”
SOMC Hospice can have that effect on people. The Burkes have made hundreds of phone calls on behalf of Transcending Lives and found that they’re far from alone in their affection for the cause. For some donors, knowing that the campaign is about hospice is enough for them to open their checkbook.
“Some people get it right away,” Barb said.
“You say, ‘I’m working on the hospice campaign’ and they say, ‘I’ll send you a check,’” Will added.
Transcending Lives is buoyed by the years of goodwill SOMC Hospice has generated. In fact, the campaign is just $700,000 away from breaking ground. The Burkes credit the staff and facility’s warmth and atmosphere with making it possible.
“It’s so different than what someone who hasn’t been exposed to the program might think it is,” Will said. “When you think of someone dying, you picture the Intensive Care Unit. That’s not what hospice is at all.”
Like many volunteers, Barb has seen firsthand how important that difference can be for patients and their families. She recently spent time with a hospice patient who, due to her condition, had a tendency to drift in and out of conversation. However, that did not mean the two couldn’t share a meaningful experience.
“I took her out to the patio and we ended up sitting in the gazebo,” Barb said. “She just loved the birds. There was one bird that was really yapping, and she started laughing. I don’t how long it’s been since she was able to laugh, but that area, with all of the trees and the bushes and the flowers, is just so serene…
“And she was just at peace. Very at peace.”
In that moment, SOMC Hospice was more than a place where families could be together. It was more than a place to receive end-of-life care.
It was a place to find peace; a place to find harmony. It was a place to transcend.
To find out how you can support the SOMC Transcending Lives campaign – including through planned giving, naming rights or attending the SOMC Summer Soiree – call 740-356-2504 or visit somc.org/GiveToHospice.
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