Patients, our best teachers


​Any member of Hospice of the Western Reserve’s clinical care teams can tell you how they are continually moved by those they serve. Candace Carmichael was one of those inspiring patients.

Candace died at age 69 earlier this year after an 18-year battle with breast and ovarian cancer. Her positive outlook was a constant source of inspiration. 

“For Candace, hospice was not about dying, but about living her life until the very end,” said her former nurse, Patricia Grebenc, RN. “She always had a smile and a positive attitude. Despite the difficulties of her disease process, she was able to continue to live her life and find joy in the simple things.”

Throughout a 30-year career advocating for seniors, Candace improved access to services and quality of life for thousands of older adults. She was a founding member and chair of the Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services’ Advisory Board and was a founding member of the Cuyahoga County Advisory Committee on Senior and Adult Services. In 1990, she developed the MetroHealth Advantage Program, the first of its kind in Ohio.

She has received proclamations honoring her dedication to seniors from both Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. Her influence as an advocate for older adults was so far-reaching that an annual Candace L. Carmichael Award was established in her honor to recognize other community leaders in the field.
“Mom was a very genuine and kind person,” said her daughter, Katy Carmichael. “She didn’t have shallow relationships. She treated everyone she met with respect and dignity. She helped so many people. We’ll never really know the full impact she had.”   
Part of that impact came from her work promoting cancer awareness. After learning she had been genetically predisposed for breast and ovarian cancer, Candace fiercely advocated for others to be tested early.

Candace’s remarkable outlook on life is reflected in a paper she presented to medical students called My Cancer Story
“I have been called a miracle patient more than once by my doctors,” she wrote. “I do know that I am extremely fortunate. I have survived ovarian cancer for 17 years and now I am a breast cancer survivor for almost five years. I honestly have to say that this whole experience has been more positive than negative.” 
Candace was truly one of a kind. We are inspired every day by people like her who remind us life doesn’t end with a diagnosis. We all can live every day to fullest until we take our last breath. Click here to read Candace’s full essay.

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Northern Ohio's Hospice of Choice

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.