Special Events Connect the Local Community to Hospice Mission

BY: Bill Finn, CEO
CATEGORY: News and Community

Over the past five years, Hospice of the Western Reserve has cared for approximately 30,000 hospice patients. That figure does not include thousands of individuals in Northern Ohio schools and the community at large that receive support from our Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Bereavement Center.

As a community nonprofit, celebrating milestones provides a way to connect with families we serve, and to publicly thank volunteers, individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations who believe in our mission and make many programs possible.

We take the trust placed in our agency seriously. Events provide us with a forum for sharing our stewardship of the community’s gifts and demonstrating how they are being used to address critical regional needs.


Our events are reflective and celebratory in nature, focused on promoting dignity and quality of life. This philosophy is at the very core of the hospice mission. Connecting with those who share our philosophy is an important aspect of “friend-raising” as well as fundraising. Our supporters are ambassadors linking others who can benefit from our care to our services.

The events bring people together. In June, 2,700 people walked in memory of loved ones at Walk to Remember to raise funds for the unreimbursed services such as music and art therapy, children’s summer bereavement camps and the fulfilment of patient wishes.

On Nov. 17, we are looking forward to inviting the community to join us at our annual meeting at the Cleveland Convention Center.


This summer, two events celebrated special milestones:

■ Hershey Play Garden opening: The Hershey Play Garden, a 5,000-square-foot interactive children’s garden, was dedicated at our Ames Family Hospice House in Westlake. The interactive garden provides a comforting place for children visiting loved ones at the house with their families. The creative play fostered there helps young children cope with feelings of anxiety they may be feeling during this difficult time.

Located across from a large screened porch, the garden also connects generations, allowing our patients to enjoy watching children in their family at play. A gift from The Hershey Foundation and contributions from many others made the garden a reality.

■ Vision 20/20: At our Vision 20/20 event in July, we looked back at the historic 20th anniversary of our David Simpson Hospice House on the Lake Erie waterfront at East 185th Street, the first hospice care center in Greater Cleveland. The 40-patient suites have provided hospice and palliative care to thousands since it opened its doors. The grounds have hosted countless weddings, chef-catered family dinners, concerts, anniversary and graduation celebrations and even a vintage car cruise-in.

Eventually, almost everyone knows someone touched by Hospice of the Western Reserve. Throughout the agency’s history, we have met community needs by growing and collaborating with many organizations. We are grateful for the support. By celebrating success, and remembering those we love who are no longer with us, we come closer together as a community.

This article was originally published in Smart Business magazine on June 1, 2015.

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More than 1,000 Hospice of the Western Reserve employees and 3,000 volunteers live and work side-by-side in the same neighborhoods with our patients and families. We are privileged to have cared for more than 100,000 Northern Ohioans since our inception.