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Teen hospice volunteers initiate birthday visits

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.”


Adventist St. Thomas Hospice, 8230 S. Madison, Burr Ridge, is part of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. 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.