Cottage in the Meadow reviews are arriving!

We are touched to receive this feedback from someone we admire so very much, Marilyn VanOostrum, who leads Nurse Family Partnership efforts from Children’s Village (we’d love to hear more feedback and reactions to the Cottage):

Thank you for such an amazing event on Saturday- the Open House for Cottage in the Meadow.
We are blessed to have this place of comfort and healing in our community. We were especially touched by the way the donors and members of our community were recognized throughout the building. Each has a story, and it makes exemplifies how this place belongs to our community. The thoughtful and purposeful approach in each room and in the landscaping to acknowledge and honor those who have made this happen- just remarkable.
My husband is a landscaper, and enjoys using items that are common to our area in design. He loved the water features using the weir boxes. It is something you see all over our valley in irrigation and so appropriate in a place such as this.

Thank you again for your part in making Cottage in the Meadow a reality, and for making our visit on Saturday very special and memorable.

Blessings to all of you,

Marilyn and Henry VanOostrum

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The Cottage Full of Stories

We had no idea how many would come. The first of many gatherings to “Open” Cottage in the Meadow, last night was the first opportunity for those who made capital campaign contributions to come see what they built. Volunteers were posted at each intersection and room, ready and eager to take groups through. People came in droves, with looks of wonderment on their faces. Many cried. All told their stories, their tender tales of why they dug deep to make gifts to name spaces and sponsor rooms. They stopped at the front and tenderly inscribed their river rocks with the names of loved ones or a cherished word or two. The rocks carefully placed in the fountains.

The event had a celebratory feel, but more than that a reverent tone. One family gathered under their recognition art board, with their parents names inscribed. They cried and took pictures. I cried too. The homey feel of the place, the handmade quilts in each room, the soothing colors, trickling waterways, all added up to a heavenly homey feel and everyone there was proud that Yakima had such a resource for families at end of life.

Groups are touring all day today and another donor reception tonight for donors who participated in the Fairweather match campaign. Then tomorrow is the big all-day public open house 10-3:00. We hope you’ll come. And be a part of the stories that live there now.

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Is there a “good death”?

The Memorial Foundation has nurtured Hospice services in Yakima, all the while my own life has shaped my personal understanding of death.

Despite a career in health care philanthropy and administration and a personal interest in wellness, when death came into my life it was sudden, pervasive and wholly unexpected. It was first sparked by the seizure that ended the life of my brother, my only sibling. My mother died two years later, after 6 arduous and conflicted weeks in a nursing home, after sharing plainly that she wanted to die. We thought to call hospice 24 hours before her death, too late to be of any comfort to her, or to us. My Dad, bereft, faced the balance of his life with resolve and studied optimism. When told he was terminally ill I was ready to call hospice.

They arrived, and immediately helped me ready for his death. The threat of the end came and went so many times over the course of months that I grew numb to its threat. Dad and I talked and talked. We waited. It didn’t seem prudent to hope for a different outcome.

Little did I know that those months, even steeped in fatigue and confusion as they were, would prove to be the most precious of all the time I ever had with him. The days colored with a quality of unvarnished candor, deep sentimental reflection fueled by the shared pain of imminent loss.

When he died, he had resolved all issues of personal regret, faith, and family and had visibly reached a place of deep spirituality. He had what I have come to call a "good death", ably assisted by Hospice chaplains, volunteers and caregivers who kept him completely without pain for the duration of his life. I am convinced that Hospice gave him, and me, the time we needed to bring his life to a beautiful conclusion.

In the Yakima Valley Hospice is a loving choice for families who have a loved one in the last six months of life. It is a choice marked by gentleness and love. For more information visit Memorial Hospice. For details regarding the forthcoming Open House for Memorial’s hospice care facility, Cottage in the Meadow please visit

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"Hineni" Here I Am" – One Woman’s Journey through Breast Cancer

Sheri Kay, Author, Organizational Coach and Survivor presents

“Hineni” Here I Am” – One Woman’s Journey through Breast Cancer

Friday June 15, 2012 (break) program at 11:30 am – book signing at 12:30 pm

North Star Lodge welcomes author, organizational coach, and survivor Sheri Kay to Yakima for an inspiring presentation about her experience with breast cancer in 2010 and the book, “Hineni: Here I Am” that evolved out of her blogging experience. She has since become a friend and confidant to many women fighting the same battle and hopes that her words will continue to be a source of hope and strength for people facing not only breast cancer, but any of life’s challenges. Lunch is provided.

RSVP requested at (509) 574-3541

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How big is big enough?

You might be standing at the grocery store check out and when the clerk asks if you’d like to donate a dollar you don’t give it a second thought. Or maybe you do, perhaps you think that $1 won’t make a difference or won’t really go to the organization. When solicitations come in the mail, there might simply be too many bills next to it for you to consider it. Adding insult to injury, you feel guilt for putting the appeal in the recycling.

I’ll be the first to admit that the words philanthropy and development can make raising money difficult. What if it were simpler? What if we were in a kitchen making a meal together? If we put giving in terms of ingredients, suddenly a dash from this person or a sprinkle from that person isn’t seen as small, it is the perfect amount to add to the mix.

There have been teaspoon size gifts that have sustained programs, the significance of where they have come from or the timing by which they are given, have pushed us farther ahead. I am profoundly grateful to be in a position to witness the care people take in choosing to give to The Foundation and many other organizations.

Right now we are in “Miracle Month” — hoping for people will make 100,000 $1 dollar gifts. 100,000 miracles in the form of services special kids and very tiny infants who need us. When you see those Miracle balloons all over town — please know they mean the world!

The truth is that there are no small gifts, there is simply more than we would have had without you.

Thank you.

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Donor Spotlight: Elmer Hart

Elmer Hart (picture of Dr. Hart)

After retiring in 2002, Dr. Elmer Hart wasn’t interested in hitting the golf course. Instead, he put his nimble fingers and ample energy into creating handmade, totally unique quilts to be donated to Memorial’s Hospice and Home Health programs as well as other area non-profit organizations in the Valley who serve children and families in need.  “After 40 years in practice, I had to do something to keep busy,” Hart said with a chuckle. “I wanted to do something of value.”

Hart very often completes three quilts per week, averaging about 100 quilts he donates each year. He swings by the Foundation office regularly to drop off stacks of beautiful quilts.

“These are such beautiful quilts and our patients and families love them,” Hospice Development Director Mark Young said. “There is something so comforting and cozy about wrapping up in a handmade blanket.”

Hart’s living room has transformed into a quilt shop with multiple stations set up for sewing, batting and the fine stitching required to complete each quilt. Hart and his wife purchase all of the fabric and batting themselves, waiting for good sales and coupons to become available to purchase the expensive materials.

The Memorial Foundation welcomes donations of fabric or coupons to local fabric stores to support Dr. Hart’s efforts. To learn more about how you can help, call (509) 576-5794.

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