Family members of hospice patients, left to right, Catherine Zimmer, Donna Patterson, Joan Fernandez and Virginia Tintorri, are among those who released butterflies at Illinois Valley Hospice’s 30th anniversary celebration. (Photo contributed)
PERU - Illinois Valley Hospice celebrated 30 years of providing compassionate home-based end-of-life care to north central Illinois on Aug. 4 with a ceremony and butterfly release at the hospice offices in Peru.
A department of Illinois Valley Community Hospital, Illinois Valley Hospice has cared for more than 3,000 patients and their families since its founding in 1988. The agency serves LaSalle, Bureau, Marshall and Putnam counties as well as parts of Lee and DeKalb counties.
“Hospice is a caring, not a curing process,” said Dr. Mark Fernandez, IV hospice medical director, in remarks to about 100 people, mostly family members of current and former hospice patients along with current and former hospice staff and volunteers.
Fernandez said hospice care lets terminally ill patients die with dignity, pain free, in their homes with family and friends around them.
The morning event also included introductions of IV Hospice staff by Trina Hamrick, IV Hospice director; the song “On Eagles’ Wings” sung by Dawn Moutray, IVCH social service director; and a butterfly reading by Lisa Casford, IV Hospice’s spiritual care coordinator.
A blessing by Father Gregory Jarzombek from St. Bede Academy preceded the butterfly release, which took place on the lawn of the IVCH 6th Street office building.
Butterflies are often used as symbols by hospices worldwide because of their association with change, hope and life.