200 Women Campaign
After five years of careful planning, Vernon Memorial Healthcare’s Bland Bekkedal Center
for Hospice Care at 705 Arena Drive is about to become a reality. The VMH Foundation and Circle of Caring Campaign volunteers began the “200 Women Who Care” campaign in April 2012 to raise the additional funds necessary for this important project.
Patients within a five county area who are in the final stages of life will be served by this new home-like facility for the terminally ill. The Bland Bekkedal Center for Hospice Care will enhance the services the VMH Hospice program is able to provide to our patients and their families as they reach this important stage of end of life care.
The VMH Foundation and Circle of Caring Campaign volunteers have raised just over $1.4 million in cash and pledges to date, largely through behind the scenes contributions from VMH staff, memorials designated for the campaign and several major gifts from individuals and businesses.
Several of the 200 Women Committee members pictured above gathered for a planning meeting on March 26th, 2012. Seated are: Jayne Anderson, Donna Nelson and Julie Steiner. Standing: Debbie Leis, Angie Lawrence, Jana Dregne, Phyllis Malin, Martha Olson, Rita Erlandson and Linda DeGarmo. “200 Women Who Care” committee member, Linda DeGarmo of Chaseburg, feels “hospice and this facility is so needed.” DeGarmo recalls the help and love she and her family received from hospice when her dad died. She compared that to her mother’s and daughter’s deaths previously when, she remembered all you had was yourself and your grieving family to take care of everything. Circle of Caring Campaign Co-chair, Jana Dregne of Westby, questions, “Isn’t it sad we have to experience the death of a loved one and experience the work of hospice before we understand the big picture?”
Donna Nelson, Circle of Caring Campaign Co-chair and VMH Home Health/Hospice Manager, says she is humbled by the support the community is showing for this project. Nelson explained, “In 1982, then hospital administrator, Rheo Taylor and Miriam Hatlem, RN had been approached by members of the community about establishing a hospice program at VMH. VMH has been supporting hospice ever since. A coordinator was hired. The program became medicare certified. Now, VMH is going back to the community asking it for help to provide a comfortable, private, dignified home and surroundings for individuals at the end of their life. We have been thinking, planning, hoping and dreaming about a hospice house since 2007.” Individuals interested in giving to the Circle of Caring Campaign may do so at www.vmh.org or by calling 639-4362 or 637-4219.