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Hearts for Hospice

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The fine art of storytelling can be beautiful, expressive and even therapeutic. This will undoubtedly be the case at the first Hernando-Pasco Hospice Hearts for Hospice, put on by Accessibility Services, Inc., on Thursday, October 26, at 8 a.m. at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church-Kontos Event Center, 9426 Little Road, New Port Richey.

“This is our inaugural Hearts for Hospice event,” said Andrea Arflack, Director of Philanthropy Chapters Health Foundation, supporting HPH Hospice.

This fundraising breakfast will benefit the charity grief and hospice services offered at Hernando-Pasco Hospice. “Each year, HPH Hospice provides around $1 million in uncompensated charity care to members of our community, no matter where they call home,” said Arflack. “In addition, we offer grief support services to anyone in the community, no matter how the loss occurred, always free of charge.”

Thanks to the generosity of event sponsors, there is no charge to attend Hearts for Hospice. These include Accessibility Services, Inc., Hodges Family Funeral Homes, Robert’s Vault, Sunset Funeral Home & Memory Gardens and other supporters.

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Hearts for Hospice will be a program in which the friends and family members of one-time hospice patients tell stories of “chances taken, hopes found and dreams created.”

“There are thousands of stories we may never hear and faces we may never see, but the impact of compassion and generosity is felt just the same,” said Arflack. “Husbands, wives, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, and children represent inspiring stories. Every Story Counts!”

Each of these stories will be told in a different manner, as per the wishes and intentions of the speaker.

The Emcee for Hearts for Hospice will be Elder Law Attorney Ed Spinks. Jaxon Sessa will read a poem in honor of his father, PCSO Deputy Sean Sessa, and there will be two live testimonies at the event.

“Jaxon Sessa, 10, will be reading a poem to his father, Deputy Sean Sessa. He lost him to lymphoma last year,” said Arflack. “A host of people from PCSO and Pasco County Corrections will be there to support the tribute. And we have produced a special video that will be shown prior to the poetry reading, telling Jason’s story.”

Also featured at this event will be Chapters Health System Vice President of Support Services and Patient Experience, Reginald Riley, and District 5 Pasco County School Board Member, Megan Harding.

“The written artform is so much more therapeutic for people experiencing grief,” said Arflack. “Some choose to write a letter to the person they lost or a poem. Words can be a release, as can sharing your testimony.” An event sponsor, Arflack reveals, has written two books about grief, and a featured speaker has expressed a desire to author a similar tone.

The ultimate purpose of Hearts for Hospice is to educate the public about the many services that HPH provides for anyone struggling with the emotions and experience of grief. “We hope to bring the community together to learn about the compassionate care of HPH Hospice team members and those who have been touched by the mission of hospice,” said Arflack. For more information about Hearts for Hospice or to register, call 727.819.5985.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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