Congratulations Staci Cummings, La Pine Heart ‘n Home Volunteer! We are so grateful for her service and huge heart for those around her!
Imagine this: you’ve been a Hospice Volunteer for a while. You’ve dropped off flowers from time to time, made some projects with the Youth Volunteers, and perhaps you’ve been in charge of birthday cards for patients. But then, a close friend comes on hospice services.
If you’re Staci Cummings, your volunteer style changes dramatically.
It began when a man named Doug put his wife Nancy (names changed for privacy) on hospice services after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Doug tried everything he could, and even took his wife all the way to Australia for experimental treatment. Eventually it became clear that Nancy’s disease was so advanced that it was time to simply make her comfortable and allow her to live out her days in Doug’s care with the support of Heart ‘n Home.
Staci was Nancy’s friend for a long time and she watched Nancy’s journey. She then referred Doug to our local Heart ‘n Home office. Staci lovingly volunteered for Nancy, only reporting a few hours here and there as a Volunteer and supporting Doug and Nancy as a family friend throughout the week.
One solemn day, Doug called Staci in a panic. He was in severe pain and needed to be rushed to the emergency room. Staci stayed with Nancy all day while Doug was at the hospital, where he eventually was diagnosed with end-stage liver cancer. Doug came on our services immediately so we could administer comfort measures. We helped to place Nancy in an adult foster home so Doug could trust she was taken care of. Staci took him to his paracentesis appointments, which were about 80 miles round trip. She did so with love and care and tenderness only a family member could, with the skill and expertise of a highly trained Heart ‘n Home Volunteer.
Earlier I said that Staci would be most likely found making Valentine’s Day cards for patients or coordinating the Youth Volunteer projects. Staci ended up being at bedside as often as she could and we had planned to schedule an 11th Hour Training just for her. “I couldn’t do this for anyone else, but I have to be there for him,” she said. She was able to be with him when he passed away.
We are thankful for Staci. La Pine is a better place with Staci in it, and our community benefits from her passion for hospice and caring for her friends and neighbors. I wish I didn’t know what it looked like when patients do not have someone in their corner- unfortunately this happens too often. Doug was not one of those people. Doug had a champion rooting for him until the end.
La Pine Volunteer Coordinator
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC