A Word of Thanks…

By Joyce White, Executive Director


Many of you know that I lost my daughter this summer.  Amy was a totally healthy young woman when she was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic and liver cancer on Memorial Day.  We spent the next 61 days in a constant state of shock as the disease took charge of all of us.  During that time, Ali and Rhiannon took responsibility for delivering programs and providing services to members.  Your Board of Directors stepped in to provide oversight in my absence.  They contracted with Kim Thomas to fill in where needed and to support Ali and Rhiannon. Your leadership team made sure I could concentrate on my family and spend precious time with Amy.
Over those weeks, my mailbox overflowed with cards and notes from many of you.  Flowers arrived at work and at home.  Chicken soup on the doorstep welcomed me home. Many of you called just to stay in touch and express your concern for Amy and her family.  Please know that every single act of kindness was embraced and appreciated.  I never felt alone on this journey. 
Amy’s last days were spent at Hopewell House.  She quickly realized how different hospice care is from hospital care.  She was never in pain after arriving and the doctor, nurses and volunteers are angels in disguise.  During our time there, Amy’s fiancée proposed and she accepted and we celebrated.  She sent my granddaughter and me to pick out a wedding dress with Amy joining on Facetime – and being very clear about what she liked or didn’t like!  She spent time with each of her kids talking about their futures. Amy’s lifelong girlfriends spent a long day with her, telling stories, making confessions to one another, eating pizza and chocolate sundaes on the patio until dusk.  It was a full and loving end to a life well-lived.
Thank you for all your support and caring for us.  I’ve always known that working in philanthropy is a privilege.  I don’t know that I would have defined privilege as including empathy and compassion, but I would now. 
Thank you for being a caring community.   Joyce