Care Beyond The Cure Fiesta 2008

Lawton_Hospice of Southwest Oklahoma assists terminally ill patients and their families. On Monday and Tuesday, they're hoping you'll help them by coming to a fiesta. The hospice is hosting a Mexican dinner at the First Baptist Church in downtown Lawton, to raise money to care for uninsured and underinsured patients. Money raised will help provide healthcare, assist with paperwork and benefits, and help families cope with grief when doctors diagnose patients with six months, or less, to live.

At the Care Beyond the Cure Fiesta, visitors will see diagrams and pictures of their future hospice home. It will be constructed over the next 18 months, and will be a place where patients can get the same nursing attention they've had without the need of staying in the hospital. Each suite is designed to look like home, with a bedroom and living room that includes a fold out sofa - so families can stay with their loved ones at night - it's time that is priceless for the terminally ill and their family.

Awanda Glover volunteers for hospice, and knows about the organization first hand. The group took care of her family when her husband was terminally ill with esophageal cancer. "It was absolutely a lifesaver," she says. "I would not trade that experience for anything in the world. It helped him, but it also helped me, give him quality time." Awanda says she spent her time being her husband's caretaker. She's a retired nurse, and she tried taking care of him all by herself - nursing him 18 hours per day. But, she says it took its toll. "You wear down, you cant do it all alone," she says. "I would recommend hospice to anyone who has someone really ill like that, because it takes attendance, and time."

Volunteer Director Ginger Veal says that although the hospice can't focus on quantity of life for terminally ill patients, they can focus on quality. "Quality of life is that laughter, that smile, that good deed, that pat on the back, that hug," she says. "That's what we provide."

Hospice of Southwest Oklahoma also provides comfort bears, made by volunteers, and given to each hospice patient. Every patient and their family gets attention from a team of workers - including nurses, chaplains, social workers, and grief counselors. Each team also has volunteers - and, they're always looking for volunteers to spend time with patients. "Whether they sit in the home with the patient, whether they come down here and shake maracas while we raise money, or whether they answer our telephones in our office, they actually are providing some kind of service to every single person we have on hospice right now," says Veal.

If you're interested in volunteering for hospice, there will be many workers at the fiesta who will be happy to tell you more. Stop by for a great meal, and help support Hospice of Southwest Oklahoma. Tuesday's Fiesta runs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.