When marketing and communications director James Crichlow chose Community Hospice & Palliative Care as the recipient of an Atlantic Cares donation, he was thinking of the late Tara McParland. Tara, a brilliant young photographer, was his colleague when he began his journalism career at The Florida Times Union.
“Her kindness was a guiding light to me – that's why her three-year battle against breast cancer hit me so hard. I didn't know anything about hospice until Tara’s journey ended there,” he said.
Years later, Crichlow had the chance to meet Susan Ponder Stansel, who is president and CEO of the organization. “Her commitment to the patients and families receiving hospice care reminded me of Tara and her fight,” he added. “I decided if I ever had the chance to support their cause, I would.”
The non-profit organization began in 1979, serving Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties. Over the years, it has served more than 220,000 adults and children and expanded to serve eleven counties, including the Gainesville, Palatka, and Lake City areas. There are 950 employees and more than a thousand volunteers.
The organization’s primary mission is to provide a full, pain-free life for people in the last stages of illness, improving their physical comfort and well-being. In addition, palliative care services help to relieve pain for those with serious illnesses that are not necessarily terminal. But patients are not the only ones who can benefit from a broad spectrum of services.
“The complexities of what the families are faced with reaches far beyond the medical needs of the patients,” explained Michelle Cardinal, public relations and communications manager. “It is important to us to be able to provide compassionate care not just to our patients, but to their families and caregivers.
Some services are paid for through insurance or social services, but no one is turned away because of an inability to pay.
“Donors like Atlantic Logistics allow us to expand our programs and services, and to provide compassionate quality-of-life care throughout Northeast and North Central Florida,” Cardinal said. “Thanks to generous gifts from our community partners, Community Hospice & Palliative Care is able to provide a multitude of services that are unfunded, such as music therapy, charity care, pet programs, and grief and bereavement support.”
For more information, go to www.communityhospice.com or call 866-253-6681.