$100 per raffle ticket (ONLY 300 ARE BEING SOLD/AVAILABLE)
Saturday, September 14, 2013
John Paul Jones Arena
With roundtrip limousine transportation including a special “Picnic Basket.”
Click Here to purchase your Raffle Tickets or tickets to Fancy Hat events.
May 10, 2013
11:30 to 1:30
Thalhimer Pavillion, Science Museum of Virginia
Currently in its 16th year, The Fancy Hat Party Luncheon has become one of the Hospital Hospitality House’s signature fundraising events with over 500 attendees each year.
There are a lot of changes for this year’s Fancy Hat Party…new venue, new fashion show, and new date and speaker! The luncheon will be held on Friday, May 10 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM at the Thalhimer Pavilion at the Science Museum of Virginia. Our theme is “Thank You“ to mothers and we are excited to announce that our guest speaker is Debbie Phelps, educator and mother of Olympic Gold medalist swimmer, Michael Phelps.
To learn more about Sponsorship Opportunities, click here.
If you would like tickets please call HHH at 828-6901.
Tickets will be on sale at the door.
A few of us were sitting in the library at Hospital Hospitality House the other day.
First: Yes, we have a library, full of wonderful donated books and games. Secondly: This is not something that we get to do very often.
It was a day much like any other, and as we discussed our plans for the upcoming Fancy Hat Party and Hats Off shindigs, we heard some discussion from around the corner. At the start of the meeting we had noticed a few folks checking in and the voice we now heard seemed to be giving a sort of tour:
“That’s the library. If you’d like something to read and maybe pass the time, there’s a pretty good selection in there. If you go through those doors, you’ll find the dining room. We’ve got a group coming in tonight to make spaghetti for everybody, and they’re nice ladies. They usually get a good Bingo game going after supper.”
The person leading this tour? The gentleman who drives our courtesy van. He works for us, driving people to and from their appointments and visits with the doctors nearby. But he seems to have expanded his list of responsibilities. In addition to knowing which building houses chemotherapy and which reconstructive surgery, he knows where to get a good sandwich, where to find a newspaper or toothbrush, and where to sit and look at the Governor’s mansion in the afternoon sun. And every time he brings a new guest to Hospital Hospitality House, he offers a little guided tour.
This made us think about how things sort of operate here at The House. While few of us are really full-time “employees,” we all have some sort of title or job description. But everyone who “works” here does a little bit of everything. Volunteers perform many of the tasks that keep our oars in the water. The spaghetti dinner was provided by volunteers. Songs and concerts during holidays are sung and played by volunteers. Things like Bingo are organized by volunteers. They are all people who have chosen to give, and to give to us.
We always look forward to annual events like our Fancy Hat Party, and they are always a blast, but they are a necessity. The funds that are raised at these events pay for things like detergent and new bed linens and electricity and indoor plumbing. It is your generosity that keeps our doors open.
Winston Churchill said,
“We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”
It sometimes seems that we live at Hospital Hospitality House, and many of us make our living here, but for our guests, it means their life. When we pause for a moment and think of it that way, we’re living pretty large.
For many, Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond is like a great secret. Many of our guests come to us as referrals, and we talk to many who say, “I wish that I had known about you when…”
Well, we’re here and stay pretty full, so we must be providing a needed service and doing a few things right. Other than some fresh paint from time to time and more vacancies, we wouldn’t really change much.
Wait…scratch that. We always need something.
We sent out a message to our Facebook friends earlier in the week that we were facing a shortage of paper towels. Granted, we received an entire truckload of paper products from our generous friends at Georgia Pacific last year, but things like paper towels and dish soap seem to go so quickly, and you never realize that you’re out until you’re out. Our Wish List is full of these seemingly trivial things. But they’re really essential to the every-day needs of our guests.
Georgia Pacific, by the way, is also not the only business or corporate entity that offers us help. Gilbane is a real estate development and construction company based in Rhode Island. They are one of the largest family-owned real estate firms in the country, with offices all over America. Their group here in Richmond sponsors our annual Restaurant Walk. And the folks of BB&T, the bankers, are frequent volunteers here, offering everything from some home cooking to that fresh coat of paint we asked for.
Here’s the real secret of Hospitality House: While there is some notoriety to being one of the oldest such organizations in America, and certainly one of the largest, we are also the biggest to survive solely from the largesse and donations of the public. We don’t get huge government grants and we don’t have a super-secret billionaire angel. We count on groups like Georgia Pacific, Gilbane, BB&T, and quite frankly, you. And sometimes this generosity means more than some baked beans, an hour with a paintbrush or a roll of paper towels. Sometimes this means money.
We do sometimes get extremely generous gifts from groups and individuals in the form of honorariums or stocks, and we would certainly accept any sized gift, but more often than not, these monetary donations trickle in – a few dollars here, and a few dollars there. But make no mistake – these small donations truly add up!
One of the easiest ways to make a financial donation to Hospitality House has a bit of fun attached to it: Our annual Fancy Hat Party! If you’ve not been, we gather for a luncheon, enjoy each other’s company, and wear fantastic and ridiculous hats. We also bring in an inspirational speaker for each party (and our inspiration often comes in the form of chuckles, snickers and guffaws!). Over the past 14 years, we’ve welcomed fashion icon Steven Cojocaru, First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager and news personality Lynn Scherr. This year’s soiree will be on May 10 at the Science Museum of Virginia, and we’re anxious to meet our guest, Debbie Phelps, mother of Olympic medalist Michael Phelps.
If luncheons and silly hats aren’t your cup of tea, our Next Generation Leadership team has organized a Hats Off Party. It will be the evening of May 9, also at the Science Museum, and will feature the band Three Sheets to the Wind. If you’ve not seen them, they are extremely popular and masters of “yacht rock,” so we would imagine you could wear a Hawaiian shirt in lieu of a hat.
The best part about these two events is that the proceeds from each will benefit Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond. And your commitment is negligible. You simply have to buy a ticket, show up, and then enjoy yourself. Trust us, you’ll feel better afterwards.
It should come as no great surprise that we have a soft spot for our little guests. If you look at our cover photo on our Facebook page, you’ll see a picture of Maria and Teresa – The Twins.
Granted, they didn’t come to Richmond to see us. They came to see the fantastic doctors at the VCU/MCV Hospital. The Twins were born conjoined, and stayed with us for a while as they prepared for their eventual separation. Students from VCU made dresses for them to wear before and after their surgery, art students made plaster casts for the doctors to use during planning sessions, and everyone connected to the project seemed to take a personal interest. And it was quite the project, there were hundreds of people involved, and it was quite interesting.
Maria and Teresa are from the Dominican Republic. They came to Richmond through the hard work of World Pediatric Project. WPP actually started here in Richmond, and help find solutions to healing critically ill children in developing nations. Sometimes that means initiating programs in those countries, and sometimes that means sending children to a hospital here in the United States that has the staff and knowledge to help them.
Maria and Teresa are, by the way, not the first young guests of Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond who arrived with passports. We’ve seen children and families from Honduras, Belize, and many other foreign countries. Our only rules for guests is that they must live outside of a 30 mile radius of downtown Richmond and be receiving care from an affiliated hospital.
That often means children.
It is for this reason that an entire floor of Hospitality House has been designed for children. They come to us for chemotherapy, for treatment of birth defects, for emergency care, and more. But they’re still kids, and this floor provides them with a kitchen where family members can whip up homemade meals, with a family room where they can sit around like at home, and a play room furnished with enough toys to invite much-needed play time.
Even if you have cancer or a heart defect – if you’re a child you need your family and you need to play. That’s an unwritten Hospitality House rule, but one that we never, ever, ever break.
We’re fortunate to be located in a town with such amazing medical facilities. We’re practically across the street from the main campus of VCU/MCV, and they are one of at least a dozen world-class hospitals that each provide cutting edge care to patients. These patients are often youngsters. VCU/MCV has even broken ground on The Children’s Pavilion, a huge facility dedicated to providing care for our little ones. They already have Children’s Hospital of Richmond, but this will add a new spot to meet the growing need here in town.
Civic leaders here in Richmond recently debated creating a free-standing Children’s Hospital in our city. They invited leaders from some of the most innovative children’s hospitals in the country. Many argued that we have a distinct need for one in Richmond, and many argued that hospitals like VCU/MCV are already meeting that need.
We’re not sure either way, but we know that there will always be room for their patients here.
Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis was born in Culpepper, Virginia in 1832. She later moved to West Virginia and married a minister. She formed a group with some members of her church and community to help improve the health of her neighbors. They were known as the “Mother’s Day Work Club,” and during the Civil War tended to the sick and wounded of both sides of the conflict. She organized a “Mother’s Friendship Day” after the war to try and heal the psychological wounds of a nation divided, and this became an annual event.
When Ann Marie died in 1905, her daughter, Anna Jarvis organized a tribute to honor the work that she had done. She helped to erect a Mother’s Day Shrine in Ann Marie’s name, and campaigned to make Mother’s Day an annual, and National, holiday. President Woodrow Wilson signed a Congressional Resolution making the second Sunday of May officially Mother’s Day every year.
Ironically, Anna Jarvis, who never married or had children of her own, spent the rest of her life trying to stop Mother’s Day. It had become a commercial juggernaut. “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”
But Anna Jarvis was on to something. Mother’s are important. Just look at Abigail Adams. In addition being married to John Adams (America’s second President and according to legend a cranky man to be married to), she was the mother of John Quincy Adams, who went on to be President himself. Abigail, it would seem, was quite adept at running a farm, managing finances, and fighting for women’s equality while she was mothering and John was off founding a country. The letters between she and her husband show the mind of a woman with a keen understanding of politics and world affairs, and there is ample evidence that her thoughts on worldly matters greatly influenced his decisions.
Or perhaps Marie Curie? She won a Nobel Prize in physics, and then won one in chemistry. She’s the only person to have won a Nobel in two different sciences. More remarkably, she was a devoted mother. Her daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie, followed in her mother’s footsteps, winning a Nobel in 1935 for discovering artificial radioactivity. Like mother like daughter.
Which brings us to our reason for writing this. Mothers are awesome. We all have one. We even refer to our big blue marble as “Mother Earth.” So we were pretty excited when we landed this year’s Fancy Hat Party special guest: Debbie Phelps.
You might not immediately recognize the name, but if you saw her with her son, you’d know who she was. At the end of every race of his career, Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps checked his time, and then immediately scanned the stands for his mother. He’s been doing the same thing since he was 7. Oh, and the Olympics thing? 19 Gold medals. That’s right up there with discovering radiation and being the President. At least in the eyes of a mother.
Debbie Phelps was the long-time principal of a Baltimore area middle school, but recently left to become the director of the Education Foundation, a group that seeks help from businesses to improve schools. She also is an advocate for parents of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a condition that her son Michael has grown up with.
And on May 10th, she will don a Fancy Hat and share some stories with us.
Going to the doctor is scary, isn’t it? When you meet with a medical professional, what they tell you can be scary. And it carries some gravity, because they are, after all, professionals, right?
Your doctors are the best source of information and should be relied on when making decisions about your health. Remember that they are, after all, human beings first, and can make mistakes. In fact, over 100,000 people will die in America this year from a medical mistake. They can be as drastic as a mistake during a surgery to something seemingly careless like a miss-read prescription. Sometimes it is a doctor’s physical action, and sometimes it is inadequate care.
But there are things that you can do to help reduce your risk (and your doctor’s risk!) and improve the quality of your care. And it’s really very similar to talking to your auto mechanic.
When you take your car in for service, you tend to be pretty specific about what’s going on. You describe a certain sound, a vibration, or colorful smoke spouting off from under the hood. When you meet with your doctor, you should share everything. Your discussion should not be limited to what you immediately think is wrong with you. One symptom may be linked to another and may be an indication of a larger problem. Doing this is easier if you prepare a list of what’s ailing you.
You also question your mechanic after he’s made his initial diagnosis. When your doctor offers his or her opinion, start asking your questions. “What causes this?” “How will you fix this?” “Are there any other things that could cause this to happen?” This is partly for your own information, but it will often make your doctor think outside of the box, and perhaps realize that they’ve diagnosed incorrectly or overlooked something.
Use your common sense. If your transmission is slipping and the garage wants to sell you brakes, you would certainly question that. You are truly the best judge of how you feel, so take that confidence into your doctor’s office. If you are used to certain medications, question the side effects and interactions of any new ones. Ask why a doctor recommends a certain medication or procedure.
When you’ve gone to a doctor, or to your mechanic, you have formed a relationship. It’s a partnership of sorts, with one of you needing service and the other providing it. Keep this in mind on your next visit, and help your doctor make the right decisions for you.
After all, doctors don’t offer rentals.
One of the things that we caught during the Holidays was the Rose Bowl Parade. That’s the big one in Pasadena, California. What made it kind of nice this year was seeing Hannah Storm. She’s a big-time ESPN anchor and sports junkie. We were kind of worried about her. Storm, you see, had an accident and was severely burned. During her Rose Bowl appearance, she had fake hair and eyebrows, and you could clearly see one of her hands bandaged.
Hannah Storm was trying to light a gas grill when it sent a fireball into her face, leaving her with first and second-degree burns on her face, hands and chest. She lost most of her hair and is still battling an infection. She was glad to be back on the air, but still has trouble with her hand, making it difficult for her to pick things up or flip through cue cards.
Seeing Storm made us think of some other burn victims. Most are like her, and never expected to get burned. It was some accident or moment of carelessness. And sadly, it frequently happens to children. Perhaps it’s childhood curiosity or the fact that they don’t yet know what qualifies as dangerous?
Later that evening, while trying to digest too much turkey and tired of football, we saw something inspiring on PBS. It was a profile of a camp designed specifically for young burn victims. Or as they like to call them, burn “survivors.” We like that better. You can see it for yourself here.
The Central Virginia Burn Camp (CVBC) was established around 20 years ago in Charlottesville by the Charlottesville Professional Firefighters Association. Firefighters, like burn survivors, have some first-hand experience in the dangers and perils of dealing with fire and its destructive nature. For those who have been injured, this destruction is in the form of scars, loss of hair, and often involves months and years of surgery and rehabilitation. CVBC was created to provide youngsters from 7 to 17 a place to be kids, among people who have had similar experiences, and free from the worry of stares and questions. For a week every summer, they just have to be kids.
The Camp is staffed with counselors, therapists, nurses, and firefighters from throughout the state. They engage their young charges in swimming, boating, horseback riding, arts and crafts, and other fun summertime activities. Just like every other kid. And yes, they have an evening bonfire. What would summer camp be without one?
The best part about it is this: Central Virginia Burn Camp is free. They receive sponsorships from a ton of firefighter associations, the University of Virginia Health System, and other like-minded groups. They also are like us, a non-profit, and as such count on donations from individuals to keep stocked up in sunscreen and marshmallows. Many of the kids who go there have been treated right here at VCU and we’ve met some families as their kids go back and forth for therapy and reconstruction surgeries.
You probably know that we’re pretty passionate about the “littles” that spend time here at Hospital Hospitality House. And we genuinely need and appreciate your donations of time, money and goods. But we had to share this story.
We have a great deal to be thankful for this Holiday Season, and we don’t have many requests this year. Sure, we could always use a little more laundry detergent and some more volunteers to share time with our guests. And it would be great if we could manage some nights with a higher vacancy rate at Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond, but this is what we do and we’re glad to do it.
2012 has been, though, a banner year. We haven’t totaled the numbers, but it seems that we have had a ton of people coming by to cook a meal, call bingo, or engage our guests in song. We’ve had amazing donations of supplies and funds to help us in our mission, and in one case, an entire truckload of paper goods from Georgia Pacific. We had great turnouts for our Fancy Hat Party, for our Gilbane Restaurant Walk, and our Savor Dinner. We met wonderful friends, old and new, and raised funds that will get us into 2013 with a little less pain.
Maybe that’s what we need for Christmas this year: A promise of continued success for next year? That spirit of giving that so many have shown this past year.
We are one of the largest Hospitality Houses in America. We’re one of the oldest. We are also the largest in the country that survives solely upon your generosity. And the folks who come to us in their time of need are the true recipients of this generosity.
It’s relatively easy to put someone up for the night. Change the sheets and give them a key. It’s harder to supply them with food, toiletries, and the few items that they may have missed in their trip to the hospital. It’s harder still to provide them with a sense of security and fellowship when they’re under the strain of medical crisis.
And this is where so many of you become so vitally important.
We need for all of you to continue to help us in the coming year. Our wish list comes close to being full with your donations of goods, but it never goes away. A donation like a truckload clears a hurdle, but it eventually runs out. An event helps us to raise funds, but we have to pay the bills in January just like all of you. A group cooking dinner makes for a great evening, but we still try to plan something for tomorrow.
All of that being said, we’re getting ready for Santa. There are cookies to bake, presents to wrap, and we’re trying to warm up for some Carols. We’re going to do our best to make this a wonderful holiday for our guests. You are all in our hearts and thoughts as you join with family and friends. We hope that we’re in yours.
Happy Holidays from Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond.