Shannon Winegarner: Flowers bring hope

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— It is that time of year again when we eagerly look forward to longer days, warmer temperatures, melting snow and daffodils.

Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association’s annual, beloved Hospice Daffodil fundraising event is almost here. On Tuesday, the beautiful sight of warm, yellow flowers will make its way across the Yampa Valley. The flowers will show up in homes, grocery stores, restaurants and businesses in Steamboat Springs, Craig, Hayden, Oak Creek, Clark and everywhere in between. They symbolize both the hope for a brighter, warmer spring season as well as hope for support, comfort, dignity and peace for those we love entering their final season of life.

Our local hospice organization provides just that. Hospice care is available to any resident of Routt or Moffat County who has been diagnosed with an illness that, if followed a predicted course, would result in a prognosis of six months or fewer to live. Hospice is provided in homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, hospitals and at the Rollingstone Respite House. A team of staff members and volunteers work together to help meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the patient and his or her family. Bereavement services are provided to the family of a hospice patient for 13 months following their loved one’s death.

Services are provided to all who qualify, regardless of the ability to pay. Hospice relies heavily upon its two annual fundraisers, the Daffodil drive on Tuesday and the Dinner and Golf Tournament on June 13 and 14, as well as the donations from our community members. So, as you wake up Tuesday and pass the volunteers who are selling our daffodils, give yourself the gift of a promised spring and give others the gift of comfort and dignity during their final season.

Shannon Winegarner, RN

Director of Hospice and Palliative Care,

Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

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