Message from the Development Director

The following was published in our 2012 Annual Report.

Development Department

Above left – Robin Palmer, Tammy Hooker and Ashley Lincoln – the team lucky enough to be charged with coordinating the Last Mile Ride each August, post for a photo. Above right – Jack Cowdrey, Chair of the Development Committee and one of the chase-truck drivers for the Last Mile Ride.

In this year’s Annual Report, we are fortunate to read stories from our long-time providers. Gifford is also fortunate to have many long-term supporters. Many of their names follow, but it is hard not to pull out one group for its remarkably long-standing relationship. That group is the Gifford Medical Center Auxiliary.

In 2012, the now 106-year-old Auxiliary continued its support of Gifford programs and services, including “wish list” items awarded to individual hospital departments looking to improve care through new technology or training materials.

As these “wish list” gifts are distributed, there are often tears of thanks and happiness from the receiving department staff members. This speaks volumes to how much these gifts – and the Gifford Auxiliary – mean to the medical center and its patients.

Other major supporters in 2012 included those who gave to the Last Mile Ride. Now in its seventh year, this charity motorcycle ride raised a record $54,000 for end-of-life care and services. This year’s event brought a new run/walk and thus many new participants. Top among them was Todd Winslow and Lu Beaudry who raised more than $5,000 in memory of Todd’s mother, Joyce (read more about the Winslow family in our Donor Profile). The event was our largest individual fund-raiser to date.

The motorcycle ride is just one way to support Gifford. Many offer their community medical center financial support each year through an annual gift to the hospital or a special purpose fund. Others include Gifford in their will or trust, while still others choose a charitable gift annuity where they receive a predictable return on their investment.

Increasingly, community members are also expressing tremendous interest in our planned senior living community. That interest and enthusiasm has come in the form of financial support as well as interested residents. This project shows so much promise, and it is our utmost honor to be working to provide a solution to a serious problem in our region – a lack of local housing alternatives for those wanting to age in place, in their communities, rather than having to travel great distances.

As always, the Development Department is available by calling 728-2380 to discuss the many ways to support Gifford. Your investment truly makes a difference and the impact is far-reaching. Please don’t hesitate to ask us your questions or visit our website, www.giffordmed.org, to discover ways you can leave your legacy. New this year, we have included an option for online giving opportunities.

On behalf of Gifford, thank you. We appreciate your friendship.

~ Ashley Lincoln
Director of Development

Donor Profile: The Winslows

The following was published in our 2012 Annual Report.

donor profile

Above left – Peter and Joyce Winslow. Above right – Pictured at Magee is Peter and sons Todd and Dale. Not present is son Scott. Together they support community organizations, including Gifford.

Joyce Winslow instilled in her sons the value of giving.

“My mom told me there were two places in town that you need to take care of, because they can’t be replaced, and those are the hospital and Chandler,” Todd Winslow recalls.

For Joyce’s husband, Peter, the value of giving also came early on in life. During his childhood, his own mother went out of her way to give to the less fortunate. During their marriage, Peter and Joyce, in spirit and action, carried on that tradition.

The family nurturer and steadfast promoter of harmony, Joyce gave smiles and kindness to her children, their friends, and the customers she met at family-owned Belmains where she worked for more than 30 years. She was so thoughtful, says Peter, that if someone needed clothing, she’d take clothes right out of her own closet to give.

Together Joyce, Peter, their sons, and their first business – Magee Office Products, also in Randolph – have for years supported a variety of Vermont organizations, including annual gifts to Gifford. “We were a family of giving,” says Peter, who moved his family to Randolph in 1959.

When Joyce passed away in Gifford’s Garden Room 52 years later in November of 2011, it stands to reason that this family of giving once again considered how they could support their community. They designated both Gifford and Chandler for memorial donations in Joyce’s name. Memorial gifts soon came in great numbers.

The following summer Todd took up his mother’s memory once again as a participant in Gifford’s annual Last Mile Ride, a charity motorcycle ride for end-of-life care. Todd collected donations in Joyce’s name totaling more than $5,000 – the most money raised by a rider that year, or any year.

donor profileTodd credits the quality of the Garden Room and Gifford as two reasons behind the giving. “Most towns don’t have a hospital like Gifford,” he says.

But the real motivator was surely his mother.

“I really think it was because of my mom,” Todd said after the charity motorcycle ride in August. “One guy (I asked for a donation) said, ‘How can you not say yes?’”

In Joyce’s memory and for the good of their community, the Winslow family has made a tradition of saying yes.

Last Mile Ride Raises Record $56,000 for Patients at End of Life

Last Mile Ride

The Stockwell family is ready to ride Saturday at Gifford Medical Center. (Provided: Janet Miller)

RANDOLPH – Nearly 300 motorcyclists, cyclists and runners/walkers participated in Gifford Medical Center’s eighth annual Last Mile Ride on Saturday, raising a record $56,000 for end-of-life care.

Beneath sunny skies, the day juxtaposed heart-wrenching, yet inspiring, stories of loss with a celebration featuring the high tempo sounds of “Jeanne and The Hi-Tops,” food, fun and prize awards.

Earning the top prize for his fund-raising efforts was Reg Mongeur of Randolph, who collected $3,458 from generous friends, family and strangers alike. A much-anticipated Harley/$5,000 cash raffle was won by Carol Bushey of Brookfield. A quilt made by Gifford nursing staff and a patient went to Martha Howe of Randolph.

Last Mile Ride

Runners sprint through the start line of the 5K Fun Run as part of the Last Mile Ride. (Provided: Tammy Hooker)

Palliative care physicians Dr. Cristine Maloney and Dr. Jonna Goulding along with rider/founder and Gifford nurse Lynda McDermott all addressed the crowds, offering thanks for riders’ efforts to make the hospital’s dream of providing alternative therapies, special wishes and more for free for patients in the last mile of life.

“Everyone has arrived here today for unique personal reasons to unite in a larger, common cause. Many are motivated to be here to honor the loss of a loved one and to ensure that future families shepherding someone to the end of life are granted gifts or services … ,” Gifford Director of Development Ashley Lincoln said.

Last Mile Ride

Cyclists leave Gifford Medical Center Saturday for the Last Mile Ride. (Provided: Janet Miller)

“The enthusiasm of this crowd and the building excitement of riders garners more and more sponsors, gives me and the staff at Gifford … not only financial reserves but emotional reserves to walk alongside our friends and neighbors on some of their longest days,” Lincoln continued.

Shelly Pearce knows how long those days can be. Her husband Kevin died in the Garden Room on July 4. On Saturday, Shelly Pearce offered an emotional, personal thanks to riders.

“The Last Mile Ride funds helped us as a family in numerous ways,” said Pearce, describing massages for pain management, meals for the family, a gas card and a special family celebration. “So whether this is your first or your eighth time participating in the Last Mile Ride, I want you all to know what a difference you making in a patient and their family’s life. Keep participating or volunteering even if it seems like a small thing, because it is very important and appreciated.”

Last Mile Ride

Led by Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak, motorcyclists return to Gifford during the Last Mile Ride held Saturday in support of end-of-life care. (Provided: Janet Miller)

The Last Mile Ride began in 2006 when McDermott brought the idea forward to help provide comfort measures for people in life’s last mile. The first ride was held in 2006, and since its number of participants, funds raised and impact have all grown.

The event now includes a 5K and cycle ride in addition to the popular motorcycle ride. And this year’s event featured a Friday night “Kick-Off Rally” of dinner and dancing at the Three Stallion Inn with more than 80 community members and Last Mile participants in attendance.

The Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce made the event possible.

Last Mile Ride

Cyclists and motorcyclists line up for the post-ride BBQ. (Provided: Janet Miller)

The Last Mile Ride was made possible by a huge group of volunteers, who were mostly Gifford employees who gave up their Saturday to support the cause, as well as volunteers from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak, the Green Mountain Bike Patrol, police support in multiple towns, and Terry Heath and Erin Bianchi of Massage Professionals of Randolph.

Significant community involvement came in the forms of people lining the event routes to show support and many, many sponsors. Among this year’s sponsors were the Frankenburg Agency Inc., Froggy 100.9, Lucky’s Trailer Sales, Northfield Savings Bank, Wilkins Harley-Davidson, Booth Brothers Dairy, Connor Contracting, E-Management Associates, Mascoma Savings Bank, Aubuchon Hardware, Barry T. Chouinard Inc., Dimmik Wastewater Service, Gillespie Fuels and Propane, Infinitt North America, K&R Rentals and Storage, Kleen Inc., Magee Office Products, MetLife, Rain or Shine Tent and Events Company, Schiring Radiographic Imaging, Superior Development and many others.

Next year’s Last Mile Ride will be Aug. 16, or the third Saturday in August.

Last Mile Ride

Shelly Pearce, right, offers her heartfelt thanks to Last Mile riders as her daughter, Samantha Blakeney, provides her comfort. Pearce’s husband, who was Blakeney’s stepfather, died just last month in the Garden Room at Gifford. The ride raises money for patients like Kevin and families like the Pearces. (Provided: Tammy Hooker)

Motorcycle Ride Honors Kevin Pearce, Others in Life’s Last Mile

On Saturday, Aug. 17, hundreds of motorcyclists, cyclists, and runners/walkers will take to the streets of the Randolph area for the Last Mile Ride. The ride raises money for special services for Gifford Medical Center patients in advanced illness and at the end of life.

This is one patient’s story.

Kevin Pearce

Kevin Pearce in 1976 at age 16. (Photo provided)

A native of Waitsfield, Kevin Pearce was born in Vermont in 1960. He moved to Massachusetts with his family when he was just 3. He grew up in Charlemont and Ashfield, Mass., dropping out of high school to work on a potato farm during a time when dyslexia was less understood and Kevin found himself labeled as “dumb” for his inability to read.

He went on to run heavy equipment, assembling and disassembling ski area chair lifts in Massachusetts, until tragedy brought him back to Vermont.

Kevin had been married, divorced, was engaged, and moving in with his fiancée when she was killed in an automobile accident by a drunk driver on her way to bring her final carload of belongings to what was to be their shared home.

Immediately following the funeral, Kevin packed a bag and took a bus to his native Vermont. Continue reading

Year in Review – Part 3

Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the third quarter excerpt.

JULY

Gifford summer concertsGifford’s first in a summer-long series of concerts in the park is led by Dick Ellis and the South Royalton Band.

Experienced certified nurse-midwife Ellen McAndrew returns to Gifford, expanding midwifery care to the Twin River Health Center in White River Junction.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Nazek Shabayek joins the surgery team. She previously practiced for more than 25 years in Tennessee and Connecticut.

Gifford holds the 1st Annual Randolph Antique and Artisans’ Fair in the park.

A Babysitter’s Training Course in The Family Center teaches youth how to be safe, responsible, and successful babysitters.

With the addition of Gifford nurse practitioner Sheri Brown, the Gifford Health Center at Berlin begins offering family care in addition to midwifery, orthopedics, podiatry, and soon neurology.

AUGUST

Family nurse practitioner Andrea LaRosa joins the Sharon Health Center sports medicine team.

A “Home Alone and Safe” course in The Family Center helps children ages 8-11 be better prepared for home-alone situations.

A one-night CPR class is offered to family and friends of infants and children, with subsequent classes in November and February.

Last Mile RideThe seventh annual Last Mile Ride, held on the third Saturday in August, raises $54,000 for end-of-life and advanced illness care. The ride, which this year also includes a 5K, attracts 225 motorcyclists, 60 runners/walkers, and 20 cyclists.

Free classes are offered and soon a support group starts for the state’s many home caregivers.

Healthier Living Workshops – free six-week classes for the chronically ill – are offered through the year at Gifford. A new workshop focuses on chronic pain.

Chiropractor Dr. Andrea Kannas joins the Sharon Health Center’s sports medicine team.

SEPTEMBER

Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian Jennifer Stratton strives to help those on a budget better grapple with eating healthy during a free talk titled “Eating Right When Money’s Tight”. The talk is followed up with visits to the grocery store and local food shelf, where Stratton offers hands-on shopping tips.

The medical center once again ends its fiscal year on budget and having met its state-approved operating margin. It is the 13th consecutive year of fiscal success. This feat is unique to Gifford and representative of its teamwork and commitment to care.

Percentage of Giving By Type

The following is an excerpt from our 2011 Annual Report.

percentage of giving at GiffordEach year Gifford is fortunate to receive generous gifts from our friends.

Gifts are made to benefit specific purposes, such as technology or services, or to the general fund.

The Last Mile Ride, which raises money for end-of-life care, continues to grow in popularity and benefit patients and their families.

The pie chart shows the donations – all of which are greatly appreciated.

Last Mile Ride raises $54,000

‘Great’ ride supports ‘special’ cause: the Garden Room and end-of-life care

Last Mile Ride 2012

Cyclists leave for a 38.4 mile loop to Northfield and back as part of Saturday’s Last Mile Ride at Gifford Medical Center.

RANDOLPH – With blue skis overhead and temperatures in the 70s, 225 motorcyclists, 60 runners and 20 cyclists rolled into Gifford Medical Center Saturday for the seventh annual Last Mile Ride, together raising an estimated $54,000 for end-of-life care at the non-profit Randolph hospital.

It was the hospital’s most successful ride to date, attracting more participants than ever before, offering a 5K for the first time and raising the most in the ride’s already impressive history.

The event supports end-of-life and advanced illness care for Gifford patients.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Runner and cyclist David Palmer of Randolph brought along a friend, the family dog, for Saturday’s Last Mile Ride.

Gifford provides special care in a garden-side suite, the Garden Room, for patients at the end of life and to their grieving families. The ride was created by Gifford motorcycle rider and nurse Lynda McDermott to support the Garden Room and comfort services, such as massages for pain management; family photos by a local professional; music therapy; one-time gifts for special needs, such as a handicapped ramp at home or special wish; care packages; food for families staying with their loved ones in the Garden Room; bereavement mailers; help with Advance Directives; staff training; and more.

To a mostly leather-clad crowd standing before the reflective chrome of 162 motorcycles, hospital administrator Joe Woodin offered his thanks to the participants.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Motorcyclists leave for the seventh annual Last Mile Ride on Saturday at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. The ride supports end-of-life care.

“Thank you for coming today. This is a great event,” Woodin said. “It’s been really lovely to have so much support and people’s involvement. Over the years we’ve had a lot of people take up the cause in memory of a friend who perhaps passed away or a loved one and it’s really nice for people to say ‘The experience we went through we’d love to help those in the future.’”

Dr. Cristine Maloney, an internal medicine and palliative care physician who participated in both the 5K and cyclist portion of Saturday’s ride, shared stories of patients who have benefited from the ride funds over the last year. “None of this is possible without your time and your commitment and your fund-raising. These improvements in symptoms as well as the time and space to let families let go more comfortably are because of you.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Bunny Huntley of Bethel waves from the back of Gail Osha of Randolph Center’s bike as the duo takes off Saturday as part of Gifford Medical Center’s Last Mile Ride.

“We appreciate your commitment to providing comfort at the end of life whether at the hospital or at home or in the nursing home here.”

Many spurred by their experiences in the Garden Room, nine participants raised more than $1,000 each for the cause. The top fundraising honor and associated prize – a Porter Music Box – went to Todd Winslow and Lu Beaudry of Wilder who alone raised $5,325 in memory of Winslow’s mother Joyce, who passed away in November in the Garden Room at age 82.

“When my mom went into the Garden Room … I decided that day – and I didn’t tell anyone – that I would figure out a way to raise money for it,” said Winslow, who later used e-mail to reach out to friends, family and business contacts. He wrote about the Garden Room and asked for help raising money in his mother’s name. “And I got an unbelievable response from all of them.”

Last Mile Ride 2012

Howard Stockwell of Randolph Center waves on the back of Mike Anderson’s bike as 225 riders return from the Last Mile Ride on Saturday at Gifford Medical Center.

“The Garden Room,” said Winslow, “you don’t know what it is like until you experience it. It is the neatest thing there is. Gifford has something, or the town has something, that most towns and hospitals don’t have. It’s really special.”

Winslow set a goal to raise $2,000, met it, raised it to $3,000, met that and continued on to $4,000 and then $5,000 goals, exceeding each.

“I really think it was because of my mom,” said Winslow of how he was able to raise so much. “One guy said ‘How can you not say ‘yes?’

“It was kind of neat to do it in tribute to my mom because my mom was really a neat person. She never had an ego. She was one of those people who wanted to help everyone and listen to them. So I wanted her to be recognized at that ride.”

Thanks to her son’s efforts, she was.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Ken Perry drives and Brenda Wright waves as riders return from the Last Mile Ride on Saturday at Gifford Medical Center. Perry and Wright live in Bethel.

Linda Chugkowski and Robert Martin of Northfield earned the second place prize, raising a remarkable $3,134. Chugkowski and Martin are long-time friends who participate each year in memory of several loved ones, including Martin’s dad, Robert Martin II, and this year former Northfield Saving Bank president Les Seaver.

“It’s a great ride for a great organization. We participate to ride and remember the loved ones that we’ve lost,” said Chugkowski, who works at Northfield Savings Bank and also serves on Gifford’s Board of Trustees.

Chip and Marie Milnor, who launched their fund-raising efforts on the Tuesday before the ride, collected $2,879 in just days in honor of their friend and Braintree neighbor John Rose Sr., who was in Gifford’s Garden Room as the ride was taking place.

Last Mile Ride 2012

Volunteers Penny Maxfield and Jamie Floyd, both Gifford Medical Center employees, help man the grill at Saturday’s Last Mile Ride, which concluded with a barbecue, live music from Jeanne & the Hi-Tops, and prize awards.

“I wanted to do something for the family. What do you do? And it hit me: I’m going to do something for the Last Mile Ride,” said Chip Milnor, who set a goal of $3,000 and reached it on the Monday after the ride as money was still coming in.

“People thought the world of John,” said Milnor, who lost his friend late Sunday afternoon. “Our neighborhood is definitely not going to be the same without him.”

For Milnor, the ride was about recognizing his friend and others the Garden Room will help, and participating in a great ride.

“It’s a well put-on ride. We do a lot of rides and that one is really well organized. They do a really good job. I can’t think of anything on that ride that needs improvement. It’s getting bigger and bigger, and I hope it keeps getting bigger and bigger.

“It’s for a good cause,” said Milnor. “It’s not about the hospital. It’s about the Garden Room and what they do for the family and how they take care of people.”

Last Mile Ride 2012

Jeanne & the Hi-Tops play at Saturday’s Last Mile Ride at Gifford Medical Center.

Also supporting the event were numerous business sponsors, prize donors, volunteers and individuals lining the motorcycle route.

Led by Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak with road guard services from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, this year’s motorcycle ride took participants on a 75-mile loop through central Vermont. Along the way, people held up signs reading “thank you” and naming loved ones lost. Some people were openly crying. Others cheered.

Riders waved and honked and later posted rave reviews on Facebook.

“Wonderful day, great ride with great people,” wrote Roxanne Benson. “Thank you to all of those who work so hard to pull this off every year. So glad $54,000 was earned for the Garden Room.”

“Thank you for a wonderful ride and a magnificent day! Already have the calendar marked for next year,” wrote Caryn Wallace from Connecticut.

“A great time this year! Next year cannot come soon enough! A big thank you for all involved with organizing and helping run LMR ’12 and for everyone who showed up to walk, run, pedal and ride,” wrote Brian Sargeant II.

Next year’s ride is slated for Aug. 17, 2013.

Photos by Janet Miller and Tammy Hooker

Connie Niland: A lady and an optimist

Niland family carrying on ‘attitude of gratitude’ by joining Last Mile Ride

Connie Niland

Connie smiles on her 94th birthday on Dec. 24, 2011.

RANDOLPH – Connie Niland was a fearless optimist.

So even when her husband died of a massive heart attack on the day of his retirement, she carried forth with his plan to move from their home in Peabody, Mass., to Vermont.
Connie and her youngest daughter Lisa (now Lisa Hill of Bethel) moved to Barnard in 1972 when Lisa was 13 and Connie was 55.

In Massachusetts, Connie had offered guided tours of the North Shore for women, but mostly stayed home with her four children and played golf. In Vermont, Connie went to work as an administrative assistant first at Dartmouth College and then Vermont Law School. She also shoveled the roof, maintained the home and took care of Lisa and the family’s horses. The older children were already out of the house.

Connie Niland

Connie, born Constance Allington, age 7 months, sits in a high chair on her family’s back lawn in Everett, Mass., on July 12, 1918.

Connie worked until age 84 and then filled in on vacations. Lisa recalls her mom’s intellectually curiosity. “She just had this wonderful curiosity about people and ideas.” Connie loved the law school students and computer technology. She learned to Skype and text her older children. “She was as fearless as that as she was with other things.”
And she was fearless about death.

Lisa calls her mom a “buddhiscopalian.” She read incessantly about spirituality and a relationship with God.

In 2002, she moved from Barnard to an apartment in Randolph on Randolph Avenue, when the home became too much to take care of alone. “She really considered that she had moved from the country to the city,” Lisa says.

And Connie embraced her new community. She became active with the Randolph Senior Citizen Center, the Gifford Medical Center Auxiliary and began volunteering at Gifford. “My mother was just so grateful for Gifford and loved that it was such an important part of the community where she had chosen to live,” Lisa says of her local hospital.

Connie Niland

This undated photo shows a younger Connie Niland.

Connie also continued to play golf into late 80s and was such an optimist that age 90 she took out a four-year lease on a car.

Eventually rheumatoid arthritis and limited mobility would cause her to stop driving, but still Connie lived well and with her constant “attitude of gratitude.”

She turned 94 on Christmas Eve last year. After a day of visiting with family and drinking a bit of champagne – one of Connie’s favorite – Lisa called to check in. “I’m just sitting here thinking about how lucky I am and how happy I am,” Connie told her youngest.

A few days after New Year’s she had a stroke.

Connie Niland

Connie married husband William Niland in Boston in 1941. He died in 1972.

On a whim, Lisa visited on New Year’s Eve day, a Saturday, with Connie’s monthly scratch tickets and her winnings from the previous month. “When I got there, she was out of it,” says Lisa, who brought her mother to the Emergency Department. She had a urinary tract infection but a CT scan revealed nothing else unusual.

Lisa stayed with Connie in Randolph over the weekend. They cooked, laughed and giggled, and had a great time. On Monday, the day after New Year’s, they enjoyed a nice lunch. After lunch, Lisa was rubbing lotion on her mom’s face and asking her a question, when Connie failed to respond. When she finally looked up, her face pointed to one side. “I literally had her face in my hands,” says Lisa, and “It was clear that she had had a stroke.” Lisa activated Connie’s Lifeline and awaited an ambulance to bring her to Gifford.

Connie Niland

Connie poses with Karen Lyford of Chelsea at the Vermont Law School, where Connie worked until age 84.

She didn’t get better.

“She clearly wasn’t progressing. It was just clear that she had a really devastating event,” says Lisa, who was faced with the decision of moving her mother to a nursing home.

That Friday, Lisa came to the hospital ready to do just that, but Connie, who “couldn’t stand” nursing homes, had made a different decision. She had stopped eating, was growing sicker and was moved to the Garden Room for end-of-life patients at Gifford.

She was there exactly one week until her death on Jan. 13 of this year. The whole family came, all four children, including two or three who stayed over every night, and almost every grandchild. The room, which includes a patient room and family room, was filled with 12 or more people at a time.

Connie Niland

Connie Niland, 1917 – 2012

“My mother was very gracious and she loved to entertain. She had a steady stream of people (visiting her in the Garden Room), and we were loud. We sat with her and we talked about great times in our family’s life and we told the funny stories that we always told when we’re together,” Lisa recalls.

The family faced no difficult choices. Connie had made her wishes clear in “the most beautifully written Advance Directive.”

They brought her quilt from home and other comfort items were provided in a kit from the hospital. The hospital fed the family during their weeklong stay. Connie had Reiki for pain management as well as music therapy from Brookfield’s Islene Runningdeer and local hospice singing group “River Bend.”

Most importantly, says Lisa, the hospital staff preserved Connie’s dignity – an important measure for the family and for Connie who was foremost always a “lady.”

“That experience of being in the Garden Room and the support that we had was such a beautiful experience. It just was incredible to us how thoughtful everyone was,” says Lisa.

The special services Connie and her family received – the family meals, Comfort Kit and music therapy – were provided thanks to funds raised at Gifford’s annual Last Mile Ride – a charity motorcycle ride this year to be held on Aug. 18.

And this year, Lisa, her brother Richard and two friends will be participating in the Last Mile Ride for the first time.

“For us, it’s knowing what we received in the Garden Room, we want to make sure we give back a little of that so another family can have an island of calm in the middle of such chaos,” Lisa says. “Until you are there you have no idea how much you need and our family was just so overwhelmed with how much (hospital staff) did for us.”

The Last Mile Ride is supports end-of-life and advanced illness care at Gifford Medical Center, including free services for patients and their families. This year’s ride is Aug. 18. The event also includes a cyclist ride and 5K. Learn more online at www.giffordmed.org or call (802) 728-2380. Participants can register up to and on the day of the event.

SAVE THE DATE – The 2012 Last Mile Ride

2012 Last Mile RideThe 7th annual Last Mile Ride will be held on August 18, 2012, at Gifford Medical Center in beautiful Randolph, Vt.

Staging begins at 8:30 a.m. and motorcyclists depart at 10 a.m. for a 100-mile ride through some of Vermont’s most beautiful countryside. The guided ride includes some spectacular landscape and a mid-way break for riders to stretch their legs. The ride ends at Gifford Medical Center, where it will have begun, with a barbecue lunch, live music and prize giveaways.

The cost is $50 for one rider and $75 for two riders (on one bike). Riders need not pay the money themselves. They can fundraise the fee by asking friends and family for donations.

For their effort, riders get free commemorative pins, T-shirts if they register early, an escorted ride, a very fun day and the opportunity to support an outstanding cause. The ride raises money for services for terminally ill patients at Gifford, or those in the last mile of life. Visit www.giffordmed.org for more information.

Gifford Offering Free Help with Advance Directives

Advanced DirectivesRANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center in Randolph will provide free assistance completing Advance Directives on Tuesday, April 17 from 2:30-5:30 p.m. in the hospital’s Conference Center.

A special talk by Gifford Director of Quality Management Sue Peterson will also take place from 4-4:30 p.m. on the importance of having an Advance Directive for making your end-of-life wishes known, new statewide initiatives and to answer any questions people may have.

An Advance Directive is a legal document in which you specify your health care wishes should you become unable to speak for yourself. These directives can then be shared with appropriate family members, your hospital or health care provider and with the Vermont Advance Directives Registry to help ensure your wishes are known and followed.

“You want to ensure that your decisions about life support are carried out if you’re unable to make health care decisions or can’t speak for yourself,” Peterson said. “We also want to encourage people to make sure their directives are part of the registry.”

Gifford’s annual event falls around National Healthcare Decisions Day, which aims to increase the number of people who understand the importance of end-of-life planning, talking with their loved ones about their wishes and completing Advance Directives.

Volunteers will be available at Gifford on April 17 to help people complete their Advance Directives. The hospital is also providing Advance Directive booklets for free. The cost of these booklets is being funded by Gifford’s Last Mile Ride, which raises money for end-of-life care – or, in this case, important end-of-life care planning. This year’s ride is Aug. 18.

Gifford will additionally scan participants’ Advance Directives into their patient records, provide participants copies of their directives to share with family members and mail completed directives to the Vermont registry for anyone who is interested.

No appointments are necessary. Filling out the Advance Directive form can take anywhere from minutes – say if all you want to do is designate a health care agent, or proxy, to make decisions for you – or up to an hour to thoroughly review the form and share your complete wishes. Topics on the form include appointing an agent, treatment wishes, organ and tissue donation, and funeral arrangements.

Advance Directives can be changed as your wishes change. Anyone with a changed or newly completed Advance Directive can bring those to one of the patient registration desks just inside the main entrance of the hospital to have your Advance Directive electronically scanned and saved in your Gifford patient record.

The hospital’s Conference Center is located just off from the patient parking area and marked with a green awning. For handicap access, use the main entrance, take the elevator down to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center. For more information, including directions, call the hospital at (802) 728-7000 or log on to www.giffordmed.org.