BRISTOL - The Bristol Homecare and Hospice Agency honored Kevin and Darlene Sawe for their devotion to hospice care.
“Hospice care is important because it gives people at the end of their life the most comfort,” said Dr. Margarita Reyes, medical director of geriatric medicine. “Hospice care gives the support that is needed. The team here is really what makes the hospice program wonderful.”
In the run-up to Hospice Month in November, the agency held its annual First Light event Friday.
Betty Burgess, the agency’s bereavement and volunteer coordinator, said First Light has been a tradition for about 20 years.
First Light grew out of the hospital’s development foundation and community efforts, with the aim of remembering people through donations and honoring those currently in hospice care and hospice workers and volunteers, Burgess sadi.
The event kicks off the hospital’s First Light campaign, which collects donations for the hospice and palliative care programs.
Both programs provide supportive care for patients with serious illnesses or who require pain management, and the donations are used to assist patients whose insurance doesn’t cover hospice care.
Every year, a family or group is chosen to receive the First Light Award. This year, the award went to the Sawes.
“This couple had four family members in hospice care over five years,” Burgess said. “They are the epitome of hospice care.”
Donna Marrero, director and coordinator of the hospice program at Bristol Hospital, said the First Light event was created so families can honor their loved ones.
“We try to support the families as much as the patients,” Marrero said, “We are honoring someone who has been through hospice with their family. They embody what hospice is about.”
The Sawes explained that having had a series of family members go through hospice led them to build a relationship with the hospice program at Bristol Hospital.
“We don’t like to think of it as an award. We did it because that’s what you do for people you love. People aren’t aware of all the help in the hospice program. We would have never made it through the past five years without their help - they should be getting the award,” Darlene Sawe said. “It’s a small team, but what they do is tremendous. They made a very rough time a lot easier.”
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-973-5088.