Hospice Volunteers Honored for Outstanding Service

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National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Presents awards at National Conference in Texas

(Alexandria, Va) – Today, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization recognized four outstanding volunteers at the organization’s 16th Clinical Team Conference being held in Grapevine, Texas.  The Volunteers are the Foundation of Hospice Awards recognizes hospice volunteers who best reflect the universal concept of volunteerism in its truest sense—serving as an inspiration to others.

This year’s recipients of the Volunteers are the Foundation of Hospice Awards and the area for which they were honored are:

Patient and Family Service Award:
Kay Aaker
Hospice of the East Bay, Pleasant Hill, California.

As a volunteer with 31 years of service, Kay Aaker has generously supported patients in every possible capacity at the end of their lives. In 2014, Kay devoted 1,550 hours as a patient support, vigil and administrative volunteer. Her greatest impact though is not in numbers but in how she has touched the hearts of the many patients with whom she has sat quietly at the bedside, held a hand, or whispered that she was there for them.

Specialized Service Award:
Bonnie Hunt
Hospice of Lubbock, Lubbock, Texas.

Instilled with a natural sense of “doing for others,” Lubbock native Bonnie Hunt attended Hospice of Lubbock’s first volunteer class in 1987. She set out to find a unique way to support those receiving hospice care and began creating festive care baskets – filled with homemade cookies, treats and decorations – to be delivered to hospice families. Bonnie has donated over 5,040 care baskets throughout the past 28 years. She has also sewn 213 teddy bears made from patient’s clothing as part of the hospice’s Memory Bear program.

Organizational Support Award:
Timothy Lee
Penn Wissahickon Hospice, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

With help from the local community and support from Penn hospice, Timothy took part in the organization of an interdisciplinary revitalization of an underutilized children’s room at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse in Philadelphia. The project brought together over 85 volunteers from schools and organizations across Philadelphia to create a safe place and creative space for children whose families were receiving hospice care.

Young Leader Award:
Christopher Carswell
Hospice of the Golden Isles, Brunswick, Georgia.

At just 16 years old and despite his own medical challenges, Christopher lives by setting a powerful, yet simple example – he puts others first. Along with his service dog, Bronx, he has volunteered at Hospice of the Golden Isles for almost two years bringing comfort and friendship to hospice patients. He champions multiple community outreach projects and is an inspiration to those he encounters, while facing chronic illness.



“Today we recognize four volunteers who demonstrate remarkable service, compassion and commitment.   We often say that volunteers are the heart of hospice.  Their gift of caring has a profound impact on patients and families and we cannot say thank you enough for the support they provide,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

NHPCO reports that there are more than 430,000 trained hospice volunteers contributing more than 19 million hours of service to hospice organizations across the country.

“Hospice volunteers play an indispensable role in enabling hospice and palliative care organizations to offer the best care possible for patients, their families and caregivers. By sharing their time, energy, and expertise, volunteers bring compassion and caring to the lives of those in need,” noted Schumacher.

These volunteer awards were created and administered by NHPCO’s National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals, a section of the organization’s membership that promotes the contributions and skills of the different professional disciplines that make up the hospice interdisciplinary team.

Learn more about the ways hospice benefits patients and families at www.MomentsofLife.org.

Volunteer Award honorees (from R to L) Christopher Carswell, Bonnie Hunt,
Kay Aaker, and Timothy Lee with NHPCO leadership, Rex Allen, Sandra Shuster, and Linda Rock.


Anita Brikman
NHPCO, Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications
Office: 703-837-3154