Nancy Hinds began providing hospice care to terminally ill patients and their families of Fresno, California in 1981.
As a registered nurse since the 1960s, Hinds has worked in diverse settings in America and abroad as a medical missionary.
After the death of her husband, a physician from Ireland, Hinds and her three young sons relocated to Fresno.
Wanting to avoid long hours away from her family as a nurse, she began caring for patients in her home.
In more than 30 years Hinds Hospice has expanded to serve not only Fresno County but also Madera and Merced counties.
Responding to Merced's community needs, the Center for Grief and Healing was established, as was the Angel Babies/Bebitos Angelitos program.
When a woman has a miscarriage, if a family learns a fetus may not survive, if a child is stillborn, or when parents of a special-needs child require support, Hinds Hospice provides the necessary services.
Compassionate volunteers, nurses, social workers and chaplains work with health care professionals and families during such difficult times.
Recently, a volunteer with Hinds Hospice helped an elderly patient achieve a simple goal. Joel McCullough wanted to fill two photo albums with his large collection of photos that spanned his life before he died.
Volunteer Stanley Hahn spoke about the project:
"It has been a joy to review his life with him and select photos for the two albums (for his son and daughter). Because I've shared in this endeavor I've gotten to know Joel more than any other patient."
Hinds Hospice is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and relies on generous donations of money and volunteer community service in order to operate.
Specialized support groups are available, as are funeral and memorial planning assistance. All services are available to anyone who needs them.
This year's Benefit Gala event for Hinds Hospice will be held at the Vista Ranch and Cellars in Merced on Sept. 27. The theme is: Honoring the Past, Embracing the Present, Envisioning the Future. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will begin the evening at 6.
In addition to an elegant dinner in a beautiful setting, festivities include live and silent auctions, a raffle, dancing, and music by Music Moments.
All proceeds will fund the programs and services offered by Hinds Hospice of Merced.
Hinds Hospice is looking for volunteers to work at the event.
Volunteers are also needed on a long-term basis to aid patients and provide encouragement and support to families dealing with grief.
Please call Lyat Silveria, fund development and community relations coordinator, at (209) 383-3123.
Hinds Hospice is located in downtown Merced at 410 W. Main Street, Suite A. More information about the organization and events is available at the www.hindshospice.org.
Debbie Croft is a regularly featured columnist and can be reached at email@example.com.