NIAGARA HOSPICE CELEBRATES 25 YEARS AS ONLY HOSPICE PROVIDER IN COUNTYby Tricia Degan, Director of Marketing & Public Relations
This summer Niagara Hospice celebrates twenty-five years of caring for the most seriously ill residents of Niagara County. To celebrate their twenty-five years of service and to increase awareness of hospice care, Niagara Hospice held a 25th Anniversary Gala Under the Stars on Friday beneath the newly constructed Dominic Lariccia Family Pavilion on Niagara Hospice's Sunset Drive Campus in the Town of Lockport. The Gala is the inaugural event for the pavilion that was built to fill a need for outdoor gathering space.
Most Niagara Hospice staff and volunteers know of the young bride at Niagara Hospice House who wanted to marry the love of her life. The incredible staff and volunteers were able to help the family make it happen but more space for the large gathering would have made it even more special. Additionally, Niagara Hospice holds several events for families and the community throughout the summer that need shady space.The family of Dominic Lariccia wanted to help make a difference. Dominic is the father of Niagara Hospice supporter Karen Nanula. Following his passing in February last year, Karen and her husband Paul approached Niagara Hospice about giving back as thanks for the quality care Dominic and his family received. Hearing the need for additional outdoor gathering space, the family decided to help build a pavilion as a perfect way to help hospice patients and their families enjoy the outdoors and each other. The pavilion provided the perfect setting for the Gala Under the Stars.
The event featured antique car rides, a star-gazing location with telescopes, silent and basket auction items, a Mill's Jewelers diamond give-away, local wines from the Niagara Wine Trail and local and regional craft beers provided by the WNY Beer Club. Food stations were catered by the Tuscarora Inn with dessert provided by Lake Effect Ice Cream. Music was performed by The Jim Beishline Quartet. All of the evening's activities led up to a $10,000 give-away to one lucky Cash Raffle ticket holder.
As the only New York State certified hospice provider in Niagara County, Niagara Hospice staff and volunteers are well-known for their compassionate care, and going above and beyond for their patients and their family caregivers. Care is provided to Niagara County residents who live at home, with a caregiver, at Niagara Hospice House and at contracted nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as hospitals."We are grateful to all the people who have made the last 25 years possible," said John Lomeo, President & CEO. "From the staff to the volunteers, to the board members, donors and community leaders, Niagara Hospice is truly a community foundation. We look forward to another 25 years of caring for Niagara County patients and their families," continued Lomeo.
The Gala also featured a very special book: 25 Years of Shared Journeys. The book is a pictorial scrapbook illustrating Niagara Hospice's history going back to 1980 when hospice was just an idea. "It was a process ensuring hospice care would be available for our County," said Niagara Hospice co-founder and board member Patricia Evans. "I was proud to be part of the small group that Reverend Cook organized back in 1980 to discuss the feasibility of developing a hospice program. And I'm so proud of how it has evolved and grown." Evans and volunteers Janice Litz, Mary Ligammari and April Biamonte poured over boxes and files from the last 33 years to assemble and design the limited edition book that is available for a $20 donation on-line at http://www.niagarahospice.org/catalog/p-100019/25-years-of-shared-journeys. Many Niagara Hospice volunteers, staff and hospice family members and founders are remembered throughout the professionally printed book. Funds raised from both the book and the Gala benefit Niagara Hospice patients and families.Since serving its first patient in 1988, Niagara Hospice has served over 20,000 individuals as well as their immediate and extended families - providing comfort, dignity and choice. Hospice services include physical, emotional, psychosocial, spiritual and bereavement care. Hospice care is appropriate for any advanced stage illness, not just cancer, where the prognosis is a life expectancy of approximately six months or less. For more information visit www.NiagaraHospice.org or call Niagara Hospice at 439-4417.