Poinsettias delivered after fundraiser

Published 9:37 pm Monday, December 4, 2017

Volunteers delivered poinsettias to spread a little Christmas cheer Monday morning, while also raising money for patients at WellStar West Georgia Hospice.

The annual fundraiser has been helping local hospice patients and their families for approximately 28 years now by supplementing the cost of medication, medical supplies and equipment for patients living in hospice, as well as those being served in their own homes.

WellStar West Georgia Hospice provides services to all persons regardless of their ability to pay. This year was the most successful year for the program in at least 10 years with more than 2,900 plants being delivered by the volunteers this year.

“We raise money primarily for patient care services and medications at times for people who don’t have a form of payment such as insurance or Medicare, Medicaid,” Volunteer Coordinator Tammy Forbus said.

“We do not refuse care because someone is not able to pay for hospice services, so our fundraising helps with that and just helps us do a lot of extra things for our patients that a lot of for-profit hospices are not able to do.”

The fundraiser started with a volunteer named Joann Crites, who prepared a few hundred poinsettias in the Cancer Clinic basement for the first sale to support the patients.

Crites has since passed away, but her daughter now works at WellStar West Georgia Hospice and helps with the annual sale.

“It is very special to follow in her footsteps,” said Jill Henderson, Crites’ daughter. “She is gone for 12 years this past October. She worked at hospice up until that time. I feel her with me all the time when I am working and doing this.”

Besides helping locals afford hospice care, the fundraiser also supports things like a special treat for a patient’s birthday, a last wish fulfilled and support for families. That support comes in terms of both funds and volunteers for Camp Dogwood.

“One of the special services that this helps fund is Camp Dogwood, which is our bereavement camp for children who have lost a loved one, and the children, their family does not have to have been served by our hospice,” Forbus said.

“It is open to the community, and it is free. So, this fundraiser helps pay for the cost of that camp which is pretty expensive.”

According to Forbus, the camp is run entirely by volunteers, but funds are needed for other expenses. She also said that the community has been great about showing support for hospice patients through the fundraiser.

“Our community is very supportive of our hospice, and we are very appreciative,” Forbus said.

The poinsettias for the sale were sold out on Monday morning, but anyone who would like to support WellStar West Georgia Hospice’s patients or learn more can visit Westgeorgiahospice.org call (706) 845-3905.