Since 2006, our friends at Dragonheart Vermont, joined by teams from across the region, have convened on the Burlington waterfront each August to paddle the iconic dragon boats in support of cancer survivors in Vermont.
A significant fundraising and community awareness event, each year festival organizers choose a non-profit beneficiary whose work positively impacts individuals and families who have been touched by cancer. This year we are honored to be on the receiving end of this incredible generosity.
The Respite House has provided residential hospice care and support to cancer patients and their families for almost 30 years. In fact, in 2018, nearly 60% of the residents served by Respite House had a primary diagnosis of cancer.
While each person’s path to the Respite House is different, residents all share one thing in common: the need for a level of hospice care that goes beyond what is possible at home. Perhaps their symptoms are too complex to be managed outside a residential setting. Maybe they live alone without the support of a family caregiver. Some residents may be facing a terminal diagnosis while also struggling with inadequate housing or homelessness. Respite House is truly a safe haven for so many of our friends and neighbors.
Dragonheart Vermont leaders recognize both the important role Respite House plays in the community and the need to ensure this unique resource is available to anyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay. The greatest challenge facing Respite House is supporting the growing number of residents who qualify for no-fee or greatly reduced rates for their non-medical room and board. Last year, true to our mission, the Respite House provided more than $500,000 in charitable care.
As the 2019 Pledge Partner, funds raised from this year’s event will allow Home Health & Hospice to establish the Respite House Care Fund to help defray the cost of providing care to residents who otherwise wouldn’t be able to
afford room and board.
“When a person is in the last chapter of his or her life, being able to live their remaining days with dignity, free from pain, while receiving compassionate care in our hospice home is a gift,” says Tara Graham, Executive Director of the Hospice and Palliative Care Program.“We are incredibly grateful to Dragonheart Vermont for helping to ensure the Respite House experience remains available based on need rather than financial resources.”
If you would like to donate and support our Home Health & Hospice team, Graceful Passage, please contact Ayeshah Raftery at Ayeshah.Raftery@UVMHomeHealth.org or (802) 860-4475.
This story was first published in our winter community newsletter, Healthcare Comes Home. To see the full newsletter, click here.