Hinsdale – No one
should go without recognition of their special day – especially people who
might not be around to celebrate future birthdays. That’s the impetus behind
“Birthday Brigade,” a new Adventist St. Thomas Hospice program started by the
organization’s teen volunteers. Members of the Birthday Brigade track each
hospice patient’s birthday and assign a teen volunteer to visit each patient on
his or her birthday. The teen presents the patient with balloon and a card
signed by the hospice’s staff members and volunteers.
Teen volunteer Hunyah Basathia, a
senior at Hinsdale South, paid a birthday visit to a patient who shared her
Aug. 15 birthday. Hunyah spent about three hours with the 97-year-old patient,
who shared photos and stories with her.
“That experience was something I’ll
never forget,” said Hunyah, a 17-year-old Burr Ridge resident. “She had a lot
of interesting stories to tell.”
Since the program began in August,
24 patients have been visited by the Birthday Brigade. Hunyah, who has
volunteered at the hospice since 2006, has visited four patients.
“We know these visits make a big
difference in the lives of our patients,” said Heather Kochen, youth
coordinator for Adventist St. Thomas Hospice. “But our teen volunteers also
benefit by giving back to the community.”
St. Thomas Hospice, 8230 S. Madison, Burr Ridge,
is part of Adventist
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.