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Volunteering at Four Seasons is a Work of Heart

Volunteering at Four Seasons is a Work of Heart. Many of our volunteers know first-hand how palliative and hospice care benefits patients and families. Read their stories and what volunteering at Four Seasons means to them below.

Bill Tankersley

After losing his wife, Robin, Bill Tankersley struggled to stand again. Through volunteering at Four Seasons, Bill slowly found his purpose again. Losing Robin was difficult for Bill, “my life stopped when my wife died. Four Seasons helped me stand again.” After a period of depression, darkness, and pain, Bill reached out to Four Seasons to begin the process of healing through Grief Services. For one year, Bill attended one-on-one counseling at Four Seasons and then he spent another year attending group counseling. Bill describes these phases of his grief journey as “grief 101 and 102.” His third phase of healing (which he refers to as “grief 103”) started when he began volunteering for Four Seasons. It has been more than 5 years since Robin passed, and volunteering has been a vital part of Bill’s recovery: “Although there will be days of loneliness, sadness, and despair for my lost love, it is a joy to come to work for hospice. I love every employee at Four Seasons, and I want to support them like they supported my Robin. They took care of Robin; they took care of me. They are, in a way, my family and I love every one of them – I really do!”

Read more of Bill’s story

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Mary Jane Duplaga

We had Four Seasons palliative care and then Hospice care for my mother who had Alzheimer’s. It was such a great blessing for us to have someone to support us. We kept her at home and my stepfather bore most of the responsibility for her care. After she passed, I knew I wanted to use my forty plus years experience owning my own retail store. I quickly found my home at the Main Store in the seasonal and floral department and just celebrated my 7th Christmas season there.

Five years after my mother passed, we again called Hospice to help us care for my stepfather who had stomach cancer. We had a beautiful pinning ceremony to honor his military service and a little party to make it more special. He really enjoyed himself!

Reflecting on all that was done for my parents, I feel that I have a purpose in all I do at the Home Store and that is to help provide the same quality care for others.

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JJ Jaeger

 My friend Marty was cared for by Four Seasons. I visited her often at the facility where she resided, as I previously worked in hospice care in Florida. One day she said to me ‘You need to get back into hospice care because you’re so good at caring for me!’ After she passed I thought “Why not?” And here I am, providing the same care, just with a different hospice. I love hospice care.

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Karen Rice

My husband was under Four Seasons care with Alzheimer’s for 10 months before he died at Elizabeth House. Thanks to Four Seasons, we were able to keep him at home with us during that time. He always smiled so big when our nurse, Carol, and CNA, June, visited him. I am so happy I can show my gratitude for Four Seasons by volunteering at Elizabeth House every Wednesday afternoon.

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Marie Fowlkes

In 2021 a very close friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was estranged from her family, so I became her “person” as she came to terms with this devastating news. As it progressed over a few months, I became her caregiver along with my husband. I eventually moved in with her. She was adamant about staying at home and I wanted to honor her wishes. This would not have been possible without the help of Four Seasons. Her nurse, CNA, and chaplain were very attentive and caring. Someone was always available to assist us as needed. They made it possible for her to pass as she had wished. I felt like this experience and my career as a nurse could help me to help others and repay Four Seasons in someway. My volunteer work has been a blessing to me.

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Larry Elder

Twelve years and five days ago, on January 28, 2012, my late wife, Sharon, suffered a massive stroke. Over the next nearly six months – the saddest six months of my life, by far – the aftereffects of that stroke would eventually claim her life, on July 18, 2012. Words cannot express how heartbreaking it was to witness the decline of Sharon’s body following the stroke, especially since she had initially shown some hopeful signs of regaining at least a measure of mobility and functionality. She fought so bravely and worked so hard through various types of therapy to regain the use of her right side – her hand, arm, leg, and foot, as well as her speech. Tragically and it turned out, needlessly, Sharon eventually developed a decubitus – a horrible bedsore on her hindside, which over time became infected. Despite the administration of several regimens of increasingly stronger antibiotics over a period of several weeks, her medical team was unable to stanch the growth and spread of the infection, which eventually developed into sepsis. Finally, the doctors exhausted the list of methods of decubitus treatment, and following Sharon’s advance directive, discontinued the antibiotics and other life-saving efforts, and the services of Four Seasons Hospice were mercifully called upon.

I will never forget the kindness of the hospice team as they attended to Sharon during the last two weeks or so of her life. I especially remember the music therapist – a kindhearted young woman with a soft voice and an acoustic guitar – playing and singing sweet, peaceful music to soothe Sharon’s precious ears. Sharon had always had a deep love of music. I remember, too, the gentleness of the nursing team as they carefully maneuvered Sharon to shampoo and comb her hair. In summary, all of Sharon’s family and I were so grateful to Four Seasons Hospice for the love and tender care they extended to Sharon, and the kindness and compassion they showed us during a most excruciating experience. I also availed myself of the compassionate and helpful grief counseling services that Four Seasons Hospice provided.

A few years later, I realized that I wanted to become more involved with some kind of volunteer work and give something back to the community in which I lived. As I reminisced in my mind about the extraordinary care Sharon had received at the hands of the Four Seasons Hospice team, it was an easy decision choosing them as the organization for which I wanted to volunteer. Now in my seventh year as a Four Seasons volunteer, I am so happy and proud and feel so blessed to be even just a small part of the team of loving, caring and dedicated people who make Four Seasons Hospice the wonderful resource it is today.

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Sue Davis

My husband transferred from Pardee to Elizabeth House just hours before he died in 2016. Immediately upon his arrival, my family and I were soothed and reassured by the hospice physician and staff, who encouraged us to talk about him and his life and about the peaceful death we wanted for him. The hospice procedures were clearly explained to us, and all of our questions were answered. We were impressed with the caring and compassion exhibited by the staff and volunteers throughout the day and when he passed. We were so thankful for Four Seasons and their continuing support in the weeks that followed as I navigated my “new normal”, and I vowed to become a volunteer to further the mission of this wonderful organization. My life has been enriched by the volunteer opportunities in which I have participated, and I am thankful to have this organization in my community.

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