Hospice Foundation's Newly Launched Annual Appeal Supports Center for Hospice Care's Mission: To Improve the Quality of Living

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Improving the quality of living matters to everyone, but perhaps most to those who are facing the challenges of a life-limiting illness such as Center for Hospice Care patient Jennifer Dalkowski, who had one wish before dying - to meet Jeff Gordon. Stories like these are made possible through support from Hospice Foundation's Annual Appeal.

CHC patient Jennifer Dalkowski and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and crew.

Center for Hospice Care patient Jennifer Dalkowski realized her life-long dream of meeting NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon thanks to the combined efforts of CHC staff and supporters.

Jennifer Dalkowski knew she was dying. “Before I die, I want to meet Jeff Gordon,” she said smiling. With that, the making of Jennifer’s dream come true began. Bob Tyler, CSW, was the Center for Hospice Care (CHC) social worker who was with Jennifer and her family when she shared her wish. “I was truly impressed with this family’s love for each other,” he explained. Bob worked with the Dream Foundation to secure Brickyard 500 tickets and a hotel in Indianapolis for Jennifer and her family. Jennifer had her ticket to the race in hand, but no guarantee of meeting Jeff. She and her family remained confident, though. “I have a strong will,” Jennifer explained. “Once I set my mind to something, I do it. I don’t stop until I do it.”

Jennifer’s tenacity was contagious. A true team effort ensued to make Jennifer’s dream a reality. CHC staff made multiple phone calls and reached out to their own friends and families, to absolutely anyone who could help bring Jennifer and Jeff together. And happen it did. As Jennifer’s mom Sharon related, “Then all of a sudden there was all this commotion and Jeff was right there standing in front of Jennifer. Jennifer grabbed him and he stopped to sign an autograph and say hello to her. We will never forget that day.”

Center for Hospice Care's mission is "to improve the quality of living" for the patients it serves. Jennifer's story is just one of many illustrations of this dedication.

Hospice Foundation is CHC's supporting foundation and through its Annual Appeal supports CHC's promise made when it opened its doors in 1980 that no one eligible for hospice care would be turned away – regardless of their ability to pay. From providing patient medication to grief counseling to volunteer training, those who give to the organization's Annual Appeal help change lives throughout its eight-county service area. Perhaps most importantly, it comes at a time when caring is most needed.

Online donations to support Hospice Foundation's Annual Appeal can be made at: http://www.centerforhospice.org/2013annualappeal.

Center for Hospice Care is an independent, community-based, not-for-profit organization, improving the quality of living through hospice, home health, grief counseling, and community education. With offices in South Bend, Plymouth, Elkhart and Mishawaka, Center for Hospice Care serves Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshall, St. Joseph and Starke counties in Indiana.

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Cyndy Searfoss
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