The following was published in our 2012 Annual Report.
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.
The following was published in our 2012 Annual Report.
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.
Todd 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.
Our 2012 Annual Report included a month-by-month “Year in Review” section. Here is the third quarter excerpt.
Gifford’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.
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.
The 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.
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.
Niland family carrying on ‘attitude of gratitude’ by joining Last Mile Ride
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, 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.
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 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 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, 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.
The 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.
RANDOLPH – 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.