“Everything we do is intended to help people stay at home, other than our center for acute and very particular situations during the end of life,” said Lisa Robinson, the Sandy Springs-based system’s vice president of advancement.
Robinson, of Brookhaven, said the system has more than 25,000 patients in metro Atlanta this year, and recently launched a new house call program, providing Medicare patients with primary care at home.
The system’s 25th annual In the Moment — A Celebration of Life fundraiser Sept. 29 at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Atlanta will be an evening focused on living in the present.
The fundraiser’s continuing theme is to “embrace the time you have,” Robinson said, and “really living your life, whether it’s the end of your life or not.”
“In hospice care, it may be the end of your life but you want that also to be as comfortable and have as much dignity as possible,” she said. “That’s why we focus on living in the moment.”
This year’s honoree, Andy Been, of Buckhead, is a system advisory board member, and established the Billie S. Been Foundation, along with family and friends, in memory of his first wife Billie.
Through significant support from their foundation, the system started and offers the Camp STARS family bereavement camp each spring, as well as a Camp STARS for children in the fall.
“The camp really helps in their whole grieving process. … It’s a time when children are together with others who have lost someone close to them,” Robinson said.
Hospice volunteer Forrest Leef, and his wife Dorothy Mitchell-Leef, both of Buckhead, are this year’s event co-chairs.
“Hospice is one of those things where we really reflect on what our lives are like, and how we rush around and don’t pay attention,” Leef said “We need to just enjoy every moment we have because it’s very fleeting.”
Robinson said she expects between 300 and 400 guests, and the event proceeds to net about $275,000, up from last year’s total of $240,000, and every penny goes to at-home hospice program and the Hospice Atlanta Center in Sandy Springs.
One of the system’s missions is to “demystify hospice,” she said, and to break its negative stereotype.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Robinson said. “When you’re living it, it’s an enormous relief to have a team helping you. There’s a team of caring people helping you cope and giving you care.”
Leef said the fundraiser will include a cocktail party with entertainment from a two-man jazz band, an auction, 25 choreographed dancers and a seated dinner.
“This event is really special. I want people to think about being in the moment. What does that really mean?” he said. “We need to enjoy our lives every moment because we cannot turn it into slow motion.”
If you go:
o What: Visiting Nurse Health System's In the Moment - A Celebration of Life fundraiser
o When: Sept. 29
o Tickets: $275
o Where: The Ritz-Carlton, 181 Peachtree St., downtown Atlanta
o Information: (404) 215-6010 or www.vnhs.org