Hospice program touches many lives
Local man helped through death of wife and son
ALLIANCE -- It’s hard to describe the value of a loved ones remaining in the comfort of their home at the end of their life, but Marvin Springer, of Alliance, knows firsthand what it’s like.
While discussing the options for his wife and son’s end of life care, Marvin knew there was nowhere he wanted them to be but home. Through Hospice, Marvin’s wife of 66 years, Helen (Dibble) Springer, and 54-year-old son, Jeff Springer, received in-home end-of-life care with love and familiar surroundings.
By definition, Hospice treats the person, not the disease, through care from a team of doctors, nurses, aides, counselors and volunteers. It is end of life care with a tender touch that focuses on quality of life for patients and help for their families when it is needed the most.
Marvin was continually impressed with the care his family was provided and wants others to know that Hospice is more than just a nurse who shows up and then leaves. He defines Hospice as “great people taking great care of loved ones.”
Marvin lost his wife and son to glioblastomas. Glioblastomas is a cancerous brain tumor condition that arises quickly and grows aggressively. Five years ago, Helen quickly went from feeling slightly ill to battling an aggressive cancer. After just a few months of care, Helen passed peacefully at home with her family.
Much to the family’s surprise, about four years later Jeff began experiencing similar symptoms as his mother. Marvin was quick to decide that Hospice was again the best option. The same nurses who cared for Helen provided care for Jeff.
Marvin spoke of the unbreakable bond and friendship he formed with the providers and volunteers, saying, “They are all so precious to me. I cannot think of a better organization in the country. They are truly the earth’s angels.”
In addition to high quality care, Hospice offers support and aide to the loved ones. A variety of services are offered, including bereavement groups, chaplain visits, volunteer visits and more.
When Marvin lost his wife he found support in a group for grieving spouses. The group allowed participants to share their feelings and challenges as they mourned the loss of the one they loved. Together, the group found hope during a time of heartache.
Asked what the support group meant to him, Marvin said, “Although the process was tough, I formed great friendships and I am so grateful.” The members of the group still meet monthly for a breakfast to stay in touch.
Though the past five years have been trying, Marvin tries to live each day to the fullest. He said, “I learned laughter is great medicine and I’m just happy to be here.” He and his son David continue to live in the home that he built in 1950 in which his family shared many precious memories.
Marvin enjoys listening to his wife’s cassettes in the car, reminiscing about the many trips he and his wife took (a trip out west being his favorite). Marvin remains in contact with many staff members of Hospice and is grateful for the support, love and help they have provided him.
This weekend Hospice will host the annual “Steppin Out for Hospice 5K” on Saturday evening, August 27, at Alliance Community Hospital. The kids 10 and under 1K run will take place at 7 p.m. with the 5K run/walk stepping off at 7:45 p.m.
Registration is available online at www.achosp.org, or Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the hospital. The cost is $20 for the 5K and $10 for the kids 1K. Registration will re-open on race day at 4 p.m. with a price increase to $25 for the 5K and $15 for the 1K.
Hospice will also hold an annual pasta dinner in the hospital Café from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 26. Dinner will include penne pasta and meatballs, tossed salad, 12 oz. drink, bread and cookies. Tickets are available for $7.50; carry-out is available.
“We’re thrilled to once again host this event to benefit our not-for-profit Hospice program, fundraisers such as this allow us to continue our mission of providing end of life care to our patients regardless of an inability to pay,” said Sue Barrick, RN and Hospice supervisor.
Sponsors for the event include: Cassaday Turkle Christian, Altercare of Alliance, American Legion Post 166, SARTA, Second Sole, WDPN/WDJQ, Fidelity National Collections, Richter and Associates, Oakhill Manor, Fisher Power and Electric, Ermlich/Goris Meadows Insurance, Grove Appliance TV & Mattress, Kishmans IGA, Gionino’s Pizza, Texas Roadhouse, ACH Auxiliary and AVI Foodsystems.
For more information on the event call the hospital Foundation office at (330) 596-7516. For information on services provided by Alliance Hospice call (330) 596-7480.