Stories About How We Help

What we do makes a difference! Everyone benefits by paying kindness forward. Every moment matters and the generosity of others helps to ease the journey.

Thank you, Friends of Hospice SW Washington, for providing the means to make sure people matter to the very last breath of life!

A lovely woman from Micronesia spent many hours of her remaining days chanting out loud in her native language.  She appeared to be elsewhere in some sacred ceremony with her people who, although were far away, seemed to be in her room chanting along with her.  She truly ble

ssed the Ray Hickey Hospice House with her chanting and singing.  Her favorite song was “You Are My Sunshine.”  Thanks to the generosity of Friends of Hospice our lovely patient who had no family or friends visit her, had a place where she was cared for with dignity and respect.

A young man was denied Medicaid because he was officially married and their combined assets exceeded the allowed amount even though his wife was not involved in his life anymore.  Because of the charity of Friends of Hospice SW Washington, he was accepted by the Ray Hickey Hospice House, bringing his young energy, humor and zest for life with him.  He was provided with hands-on care so his family could focus on just being family.  When his disease progressed, he required many medical interventions and it was fortunate that he was already comfortable and had developed trust with his caregivers.  He was able to have a peaceful death surrounded by his family and our staff who had truly come to love him.


No Ones Dies Alone. In 1986, Sandra Clarke, a critical care nurse with Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon, could not stay when an elderly patient who asked that she stay with him. When Sandra returned, she found the patient had died…alone. This led Sandra to the notion of a volunteer companion program for hospital patients who would otherwise die alone. In November of 2001 the No One Dies Alone Program was born.

Hospice Southwest offers a No One Dies Alone program. This program is for patients who are on comfort care and are expected to die within 24-48 hours. The No One Dies Alone program is a volunteer-based program where they sit with terminally patients who have no one else. The NODA volunteer provides companionship during the dying process to patients who are truly alone and in doing so provide a gift of respect and dignity to another human being at the end of life.

Friends of Hospice SW Washington is honored to be a part of this program providing funds and supplies for training as well as patient comfort kits.


How Christmas was Saved. It was in the early morning hours when she found her husband unresponsive lying on the living room couch. 911 was called but all attempts to resuscitate him were futile. This mother of six children, ages ranging from 5 to 15, was at a loss at what to do. There was no life insurance policy and no savings. She did what any loving mother would do; she went to work to provide for her family. The income from her job did not meet the needs of the family so she got a second part-time job, then a third. Still the family struggled to make ends meet.

At the same time, the family was struggling to comes to terms with the death of the spouse and father. The children, not knowing how to process their feelings, began acting out, getting in trouble in school, fighting with siblings and friends, and the oldest began staying out late with friends. Mom decided to give up her third job to spend more time with her children. She enrolled the family into Stepping Stones, a children’s grief support program. As Christmas approached is was evident the mother was becoming more and more stressed. Feelings and emotions were running high. Worries over how she could provide any kind of Christmas for her family was weighing heavily on her conscious. The children needed so much, and she had nothing extra to give.

Christmas is the season of miracles and wishes come true. Friends of Hospice Southwest Washington provided this family a small Christmas tree with presents of clothing, new winter jackets, Christmas dinner and a special gift from Santa. Through her tears, the mother expressed her gratitude for all the Christmas angels who made Christmas possible for her family! “I just couldn’t bear the thought of my children having to face another disappointment after losing their father just a few months earlier.”


Visiting Grandma. While visiting the Ray Hickey Hospice House a story was heard about a little girl who brought her piggy bank back to the hospice house and told them that they had taken such good care of her grandmother when she was sick that she wanted them to have the money from her piggy bank to use for someone else’s grandmother.


Movies take us to places we’ve never been and offer us a window into the wider world, broadening our perspective and opening our eyes to new wonders. Is it any wonder why 5-year old PeaceHealth Hospice patient loves to go to the movies? Movies allow him to experience things a 5-year old can imagine. Friends of Hospice SW Washington provided he and his family with a monthly Regal Cinema gift card. The entire family enjoyed taking a break from their worries and have a little fun. Friends of Hospice definitely earns two thumbs up from movie critics Siskel and Ebert and from our hospice family!


It’s the Little Things. Friends of Hospice Southwest Washington does many wonderful things for our Ray Hickey Hospice House patients that otherwise would not be provided. There are big items such as extra chairs for families, refurbishing daybeds, helping us with our kitchen remodel, the purchase of new patient mattresses, and many more. There is special love for some of the smaller, special touches our patients receive. The incredible hearts that belong to Friends of Hospice help us provide the warm and caring touches that are not typically part of a hospice benefit, such as nice smelling toiletries to bathe with, birthday parties for those without families to celebrate with them, comfortable places for families to sleep and soup every day in the family room. They have given clothes to the homeless patients that arrive with just a hospital gown. There is such a sense of loss of value when a person truly has nothing. A pretty sweat suit, some underwear, a nightgown does wonders for their morale.
Ray Hickey Hospice House

Bubbles. A gentleman named Fred, in his final days, was reminiscing with the staff at the Ray Hickey Hospice House and told them that one of his fondest memories was when he was a boy, he and his sister would sit and blow bubbles for hours. He loved just watching how many bubbles they could blow, the shapes and how long they would last. Shortly after, Fred received bottles of bubbles and got to be outside in the atrium on a sunny day, blowing bubbles. Fred had the greatest smile, blowing bubbles and watching them float in the air…..happiness is…….


Pay back For Their Service. Friends of Hospice Southwest Washington recently gave $20,000 to Community Home Health & Hospice specifically to provide inpatient care for veterans. Half was designated for Vancouver and half for Longview.

Veterans who need round-the-clock nursing in a hospice care center often do not receive the care that they deserve. Did you know the Veterans Administration does not cover inpatient hospice care for any veteran in our community or anywhere in the USA who does not have Medicare coverage? We want to be able to say “yes” to as many of our local veterans as we can when they need urgent end-of-life care.

The Health Care Foundation (located in Longview) has approved a challenge grant of up to $50,000 to provide charity care for Community Home Health & Hospice’s Longview Hospice Care Center patients. Gifts designated for veterans in our Longview Hospice Care Center meet the criteria of The Health Care Foundation matching grant. This means the Friends of Hospice gift designated for Longview is matched – $10,000 designated for Longview will be put with another $10,000!

With these gifts, we are able to help veterans right here in our communities. We provide intense medical attention with frequent monitoring of pain and symptoms like shortness of breath and delirium. We also help families provide for their stay, along with emotional and spiritual support. Our focus is on our patient’s comfort and dignity with utmost respect and “pay back” for the service they gave our country.

On behalf of our patients, their families and our grateful staff – thank you, Friends of Hospice Southwest Washington!
Community Home Health & Hospice


Saying Goodbye. With the funds provided by Friends of Hospice SW Washington, PeaceHealth Southwest Hospice has been able to lighten the burdens of patients and their families and grant “last wishes.” One patient, who loved Elvis Presley, received a private concert by an Elvis impersonator just days before her death.

Several times, travel has been arranged so a family member can say their last good bye. travel was provided to a daughter, who was incarcerated in Seattle, to say good bye to her dying father.

Every month these volunteer angels provide funds to purchase DVDs for taped sessions of patients sharing life stories and leaving beautiful messages to their families through our Heritage Program. Often these incredible videos are used during the memorial services.


Stepping Stones in The Park. On August 22, Hope Bereavement, with the support of Friends of Hospice, invited the community to join them at Kline Line park to create a stepping stone in the honor of loved ones that had died (both two and four legged members of the family). Friends of Hospice provided 150 stepping stone kits, materials to decorate the stones, water and snacks.

The young man pictured was very grateful. His Aunt, who lived as a monk in the Arizona desert, died this past June. The Aunt’s body was, as requested by her, buried in the desert without a service. Having the opportunity to create a memorial stepping stone provided the boy and his mother some closure.

This is only one of the many stories shared that day. Other memorial stones were created in memory of a child, father, grandparent and spouse who had died. It was beautiful to witness the healing of families during this event. Thank you, Friends of Hospice, for providing all the materials and for supporting our community and grieving families.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Thanks to Friends of Hospice SW Washington, hospice families who attended this summer’s Stepping Stones retreat no longer have to worry about where their loves are.

The theme of this year’s retreat was Galaxy of Grief. In keeping with the theme, Friends of Hospice SW Hospice paid to have each families loved one named after a star. With a downloaded app the families can now find their loved one’s star and know exactly where they are!