By Cecil Giltz
Kent LifeTimes Editor
A warm welcome and the invocation were given by Lenore Goist, president of Episcopal Church Women of the Christ Episcopal Church of Kent, to more than 155 interested attendees, who gathered recently for the 17th annual Have a Heart for Hospice luncheon and style show benefit at the Twin Lakes Country Club.
The more than $8,000 raised through the luncheon will be donated to Robinson Memorial Hospital Hospice Fund.
Once again, the style show fashions were provided and narrated by Terri Ellen of Terri Ellen of Hudson; Aida Jabbour of Jabbours of Stow; and a new addition, Rhonda Wiggins of Munchkin Blvd. of Stow.
Donating their time and talents were female models, Barbara Burner, Sandy Gertz, Dr. Nutan Poseria, hospice medical director; and Brandi Rukovena. Male models included Brian Borthwick, Paul Durand, David Henderson and Dr. Young Lee. Among the children modeling were Kate Borthwick, Parker Henderson, Nathan Rukovena and Gabe Smith.
A raffle and a silent auction drew a flurry of activity before the real focus of the benefit, a presentation about the hospice experience, was introduced by Tracey Cugini, co-chairman with Geri Strange.
Other committee members included Linda Hall, Dinah Henderson, Shari Humm, Bonnie Nolte, Sue Nolte, Cathy Smith, Chloe Wise, Heather Wise, Olivia Wise and Goist.
The featured speaker was Joy Smith, mother of the late Ric Barrett, a hospice patient through Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna. She told of her 34-year-old sons return home last March, as she described him, filled with cancer, in tremendous pain, unable to eat or drink and barely able to walk.
She explained that for years he had fought the disease alone, never wanting to be a burden to his mother or his sister. But Smith said, Now, he had come home in hopes that Mommy could make it all better.
She recalled feeling frantic to get help and be able to keep him home, not in hospital surroundings, so she called Robinson Memorial Hospice in Ravenna. Help and support for my child came that very day, she stated. Carolyn Mitchell, a social worker of the hospice center; and Lynda Williams, a registered nurse, appeared on my doorstep two hours after my first call.
The two women went into Rics room and closed the door. The three of them spoke privately for more than an hour, giving him control of what was to come; a treatment plan was made with only two requests from Ric: Please, no needles and help Mom and my sister through this.
Ric was not only helped with his pain, and anything else he needed to make him comfortable; the hospice team gave Rics sister and mother total support, love and compassion with the knowledge that we were not going to go through this alone, Smith said.
For two weeks, Ric was in and out of consciousness; fighting to hang on, and frightened of what was to come, according to his family.
On March 25, the day he died, as his mother watched Ric labor for each breath, she knew he was holding on for her and his sister, and, as she said, I knew his Mommy had to help him go on. I talked of his need to go to God; not to be afraid; reassured him we would be all right and he would forever be in our hearts. I prayed like never before. I pleaded with him to let go. I reminded him that I wouldnt ask this if I didnt believe it was best for him.
During all of this, Carolyn, his case worker and now dear friend, held his hand, giving me the strength and courage to help my son go to God to pass into the arms of our Lord Jesus, Smith remembered.
Mitchell took charge: calling Bissler and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory, friends and family members; making all the necessary arrangements; allowing Smith to hold her son in her arms until theys came to take his worn and tired body away, as described by his mother.
They, too, did it with dignity and compassion; wrapping him in a blue blanket and giving us time to say our final good byes.
Robinson Hospice was with us from the day Ricky came home until the day of his funeral. We will never be able to thank all the people that helped us during the time Ric was here and after his passing, Smith said to the audience.
Smith was very appreciative of the help hospice provided. She said, The many volunteers that came and went during those two weeks to bathe Ricky, to help clean our home all we had to do was ask and someone was always there to help.
Smith and her daughter went to grief counseling and many support groups, which were all provided by Robinson Hospice.
Smith thanked the audience for their support of hospice, concluding, I hope you and your family never need hospice care, but if you do, please know how fortunate we are to have this hospice center with kind loving people who devote their time and lives to helping others go through a very difficult time.
Donations can be made to Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna. Volunteering of time and talents can be made by contacting Bernadette Thomas at Robinson Memorial at (330) 297-8899.
Phone: (330) 673-3491