Mum’s the Word is the worst kept secret in the Calumet Area. The annual Friends of Hospice fundraiser for the Hospice of the Calumet Area grows every year despite the humble nature of its members and a name that implies discrepancy.
Maybe it is the beautifully handcrafted items at the boutiques that encourage ladies to expose the fundraiser to their friends. Laughter interspersed with gasps of awe and playful bartering make shopping the loudest aspect of Mum’s the Word.
The other part of the event is a luncheon for the members of Friends of Hospice and Hospice of the Calumet Area. They have been working with each other for 34 years.
“One thing that makes us unique as a hospice is that we've never refused service because of ability to pay,” said Craig Harrell, Director of Community Relations and Marketing of Hospice of the Calumet Area. "That's largely in part to these ladies who raise the funds that allow us to do that. It means the world. We couldn't exist without the support of these volunteers.”
They hoped to raise $20,000 at this year's Mum's the Word.
So maybe the secret is leaked to bring more awareness to the cause. Friends of Hospice’s sole purpose is to fund the ever-inflating costs of care that Hospice of the Calumet Area faces every day.
“I believe wholeheartedly in the philosophy of hospice,” said Jan Nalepa, who has been with Friends of Hospice for five years. “I believe in life, but I also believe in letting a patient die with dignity and without pain.”
Nalepa was one of two women recognized for outstanding work at this year's luncheon. The members of Friends with Hospice are volunteers who dedicate their free time to a cause they, like Jan, have made a part of their lives. Two exemplary members are honored each fall for their extra efforts.
“They are often very modest and don’t do it for the acknowledgement at all,” said Wendy Mis, President of Friends with Hospice. “If you look at the past list of honorees, it’s an incredible roster of women.”
Rosanne “Ro” Loughmiller was the second woman honored at the 2016 Mums the Word luncheon. She is a two-time past president of Friends of Hospice, still an active member of the organization, and shocked to have been chosen as an honoree.
“Oh my gosh I’m a mess,” Ro said. “Number one, denial: I thought they needed a recount. I’m totally honored to represent Friends of Hospice. It’s not about me, it’s about this entire room of women.”
So if someone lets you in on the secret, rest assured that it is not to brag or boast. The good deeds of Friends of Hospice are done with genuine sincerity and humility. Remember Mum’s the Word.
For more information on services provided by Hospice of the Calumet Area, click here.