5K to Benefit Area's Oldest Hospice Organization

By: Evanne Armour Email
By: Evanne Armour Email

May 6, 2013

A 5K this Saturday will help a Charlottesville non-profit help the terminally ill. Hospice of the Piedmont is central Virginia's largest and oldest non-profit hospice.

"Hospice is an organization that takes care of people in their last six months of life, and our goal is to relieve suffering," said Hospice of the Piedmont CEO Jim Avery. "Hospice brings in a chaplain, social worker, nurse, physician, to the home, to the person's residence to help them during this difficult time."

Last year, the organization traveled 660,000 miles to visit patients at their homes.

Norvell Vaughan has been getting help from hospice for about three months. The Nelson County resident is battling cancer. With the organization's help, he is able to stay in the house he's called home for 20 years next to the woman he's called his wife for 40.

"It's great because I'd rather be here, being able to provide here rather than travel every day and travel to see him, and I think he'd rather be here too," said Christine Vaughan, Norvell's wife.

But for patients who are unable to stay at home, Charlottesville's Hospice House serves as a haven. The home is staffed with caregivers and volunteers.

Kate Tamarkin volunteers her time playing her harp for residents. She coordinates Hospice of the Piedmont's new "Music by the Bedside" program.

"The sense of hearing is the first sense to develop in the womb. It is the last to depart at death. That says to me that there's something very important about it," said Tamarkin.

While Tamarkin gives patients something to listen to, other volunteers are there to lend an ear.

"We envision a community someday when no one would die alone or in pain, and in pain we don't just mean the physical pain -- but the spiritual pain, the social pain, the emotional pain," said Avery.

This is the 12th year the 5K run/walk will be held at the Keswick Club. It starts at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 11.

For more information about the 5K or how to help, click HERE.

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