A vision of hope and comfort…

Over thirty years ago two of the Board members of the Foundation, Hugh Westbrook and Esther Colliflower, took a brief journey to London to visit a hospice called St. Christopher’s and to meet a remarkable lady named Dame Cicely Saunders. By using drugs scientifically to manage pain, and by allowing relatives to spend a great deal of time with terminally ill patients, she altered the bleak concept of death for thousands of people.  She would make St. Christopher into a beacon of hope and solace for the dying; it would lead to the founding of hospices around the world using her principles of care.

Cicely Saunders would become something of a folk hero; there are many remarkable and moving stories about her. One of them involves a terminally ill patient named David Tasma whom she cared for in 1948.  He was a Polish-Jewish refugee who had escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto.  When he died, he left his worldly wealth of 500 pounds, which he designated for “a window in your home.”  That act of giving, which planted the seed that would become St. Christopher’s, is remembered by a simple pane of glass in the entryway to the hospice.

One of the lessons of the story of David Tasma is the power of memorial giving. Many monetary gifts the Foundation receives are for the special needs of hospice patients and their families.  Some monetary gifts the Foundation receives are designated specifically to important projects like pain management research.  For many years the Foundation supported the work of the Duke Institute for Care at the End of Life, a beacon of hope and solace founded by Hugh Westbrook and his colleagues.  Like St. Christopher’s, the Duke Institute became a beacon of hope to terminally ill patients.  Through research, focused education, training of hospice professionals, sharing of resources and designated grants, the Duke Institute improved the way we care for the dying.  Although the Institute no longer operates at Duke as it once did, it had over 20 years of glorious service to the terminally ill and their families.

By supporting the work of the Foundation https://www.foundationeolc.org/donate/  we reach beyond our own personal worlds to become a part of something greater.  That means not only helping other hospice patients and families in need, but sharing and extending for generations Dame Cicely Saunders’ vision of hope and comfort to the dying.