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Adventist St. Thomas Hospice celebrates 30 years of service

Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, Lisa.parro@ahss.org; 630-312-7508

Adventist St. Thomas Hospice will celebrate 30 years of service to the community with an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the hospice’s headquarters, 119 E. Ogden Ave., suite 111, Hinsdale. Guests include founder Luci Svoboda and Adventist Midwest Health officials. To RSVP or for more information, call 630-856-6982.

 

Hinsdale – Adventist St. Thomas Hospice will celebrate 30 years of service to the community with an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the hospice’s headquarters, 119 E. Ogden Ave., suite 111, Hinsdale. To RSVP or for more information, call 630-856-6982.

 

The Rev. John B. Rapp, regional vice president for ministries and mission at Adventist Midwest Health, will offer a devotion and opening prayer at 6 p.m. Speakers include hospice founder Luci Svoboda and David L. Crane, president/chief executive officer of Adventist Midwest Health and Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Refreshments and dessert will be served.

 

Adventist St. Thomas Hospice has grown from a volunteer program to a staffed, not-for-profit, full-service Hospice. Hospice is a philosophy of care for dying individuals that emphasizes compassionate care, quality of life, and choices. It recognizes dying as a natural part of life.

 

Luci Svoboda, of Monticello, Ind., founded Adventist St. Thomas Hospice in 1980. The hospice is named after Tom, who died of cancer in 1979 at the age of 18. He was the son of Luci and her husband, Edward.

 

“When Tom was dying, we had emotional support from our Christian community,” Luci Svoboda said. “We wanted to carry on that kind of support. I believe that people are able to die more peacefully and families can be more whole because of hospice care. It gives patients and families courage and peace of mind because they know someone is there who cares. We’re grateful and blessed to have our son’s memory live on in such a beautiful way.”

 

Pat Fellows, of Downers Grove, started volunteering for the hospice in 1986 and trained under Svoboda in the early 1990s.

 

“Luci was a wonderful mentor and teacher,” Fellows said. “I learned about the spirit of St. Thomas through her and with her. When I work with patients today, I get the sense that Tom’s spirit guides us, even though I never met him.”

 

Fellows had a paid position as a bereavement coordinator with Adventist St. Thomas Hospice for three years. But when she decided to slow down, she stayed on as a volunteer. She provides respite for families and helps with a program for children who have lost a family member.

 

Mary Novotny, of Western Springs, is another example of a dedicated worker staying with the hospice as a volunteer. She was a staff nurse at Adventist St. Thomas Hospice for 11 years before she retired in 1998.

 

“When I retired, someone said, ‘Now you can do something totally different,’” Novotny said. “I thought about my options and I realized I really loved my work. I loved the patients, the families and the staff. I also knew how valuable volunteers are to hospice, so I decided to volunteer here.”

 

Novotny believes that one of the most important benefits of hospice is providing a safe, supportive environment where individuals and their families can talk about death.

 

“People find it difficult to talk about dying,” Novotny said. “They don’t understand how working with people at the end of their lives can be so meaningful.”
 

Novotny believes that her work at Adventist St. Thomas Hospice has made her more compassionate.

 

“St. Thomas is grounded in Christian values,” she added. “I’m a part of the team that provides that care. It’s been a gift.”

 

Adventist St. Thomas Hospice, 119 E. Ogden Ave., Hinsdale, is a department of Adventist Midwest Health. Certified by Medicare and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Adventist St. Thomas Hospice serves patients and families in DuPage, eastern Kane, northern Will and western Cook counties. For more information, call (630) 856-6990.

 

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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.