Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group celebrates success

February 03, 2010
Santa Paula News

Legendary writer and humorist Mark Twain, said Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group President Elias Valdes, best described kindness as the “language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

And such kindness was evident to both ear and eye at the 28th Annual SCVHHSG annual luncheon meeting, which celebrated decades of success in providing an array of free services throughout the river valley.

The event, held January 20 at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport, featured longtime Hospice supporter Dr. Evan Slater as featured speaker. Slater was introduced by Hospice Co-Founder Cathy Barringer, who noted that in 1980 “as a young oncologist” Slater helped form the Hospice, assisted by Kathy Zwers RN, when the Hospice concept was then a relatively new idea.

“Eleven of us took our training” and, Barringer said, “I can safety say that training changed all of our lives. A true inspiration was and is Dr. Slater.” Slater talked about the leaps and bonds of cancer diagnosis and treatment over the years, but noted there is still far to go.

Valdes said, “One of the reasons I got involved in Hospice was Cathy and Carl Barringer,” close friends of his late father. Valdes has found those involved in Hospice to be “very caring, very giving and showing the spirit of kindness. I am honored to be among them.”

All affiliated with Hospice display “built-in compassion... and most of what we do is free,” with a minimal charge for the River Valley Club adult day center. The latter, noted Valdes, “is a great place for seniors,” offering a wide variety of activities and socialization, as well as a nutritious hot lunch and snacks.  

The board is expanding, and Valdes introduced new directors Victor Espinosa and Alice Romero RN, noting that Kathy Kemp was unable to attend the luncheon meeting. “Overall, it’s been a great year,” capped, said Valdes by a new program still being explored.

Life stories are important, and Valdes noted he thinks of others’ lives “all the time... when I read obituaries” what people have accomplished is apparent. All have stories they need to tell, “if not for us then for our family members,” and if there is no family Valdes said Hospice wants to ensure “no one dies alone,” perhaps through hospital visits that show that person they are cared about.

Attendees at the annual luncheon included Hospice directors, volunteers, supporters and staff.

Hospice provides for the emotional, social and spiritual support to persons with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Hospice also provides everything from equipment loans to respite for caregivers, transportation to medical appointments to home cooked and delivered meals and flowers to an extensive library of books, DVDs and cassette tapes.

These and other Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group services are offered free of charge, and the River Valley Club for adults with special needs is affordable but also offers scholarships. The organization also provides $500 grants to help qualifying families with funeral expenses. Transportation for medical services continues to be one of Hospice’s most popular services.

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