Angie Britton recently had the opportunity to spotlight the new Volunteer Coordinator, Valarie Bloodgood from Judith Karman Hospice, on the KUSH Business Spotlight.

Valarie Bloodgood, a native of Tulsa, is a graduate of Oklahoma State, majoring in gerontology (the the study and care of the elderly).  She is also one of the newest additions to the caring and compassionate staff of Judith Karman Hospice. Judith Karman Hospice is the oldest, hospice service in the state, and Valarie’s role is that of Volunteer Coordinator.

The focus of my interview with Valarie, was to point out the need for volunteers for critically ill patients in Cushing.  Patients receive top-quality medical care and services – completely free of charge from Judith Karman Hospice.  Currently, there is a great need for volunteers from Cushing for Cushing.

JKH is a non-profit organization that has provided services for terminally ill patients, and their families for over 30 years. Not one of their patients has ever received a bill, and never will. They are state certified so Medicare and private insurance cover the biggest amount of the costs. Whatever is not covered, Judith Karman, absorbs the cost. The caring and compassionate staff of JKH, allows terminally ill patients to spend their final days of life in their own home, amongst the people and things they cherish.

Volunteers are required to take a brief training course and traditionally these are held at the offices of JKH in Stillwater. However, if they are able to recruit 5 or more, they have agreed to hold the classes here in Cushing. In fact, a local church has agreed to allow classes to be held in one of their rooms.  Once enough volunteers have expressed an interest, everyone will get together and choose the days and the times, best for everyone, to complete training.

Volunteers are not required to commit to any specific amount of time. It can be a little or as much time that can be spared. Some people donate an hour a month or and hour a week. Any time given is appreciated.

Volunteers will be matched up with patients, and volunteers will provide a variety of tasks. The time you volunteer may allow an important break for nurses or patients’ families. Or you might read to patients, shop, clean, cook, help with pets or whatever task is needed. It ‘s a wonderful and rewarding opportunity for someone to give back to our community.

Please call Valarie Bloodgood at (405)377-8012 if you are interested in helping, or Angie Britton at (918) 225-0922.

 Again, this is for patients in Cushing but not limited to Cushing. So far they do not have a single volunteer from Cushing for their patients in Cushing.

The story behind Judith Karman Hospice is heart wrenching and heartwarming. I know there are many that are familiar with her story. For those of you that are not, after hearing it, I think you will agree that becoming a volunteer for JKH is a way to honor such a caring and beautiful young woman who gave so much, yet asked for so little, and by taking part, you join the circle of caring people who were dedicated to her legacy , and in honoring her wishes, for over 30 years.

Story of Judith Karman:

Judith Karman was a young wife, mother and former art teacher, and only 35, in 1975, when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Her own experiences as a patient with a life threatening illness, allowed her to see firsthand the need for connecting terminally ill patients and their families with the resources and support needed through the difficult time;The time after physicians and treatments could no longer extend patients lives, and death was eminent. During her own battle, she found the time to earn her masters in Hospital Administration, to worked in critical care units, emergency rooms and finally at Stillwater Medical Center as a patient representative, to help patients with needs of resources and services outside of the medical field and provisions. She was known for hugging, holding hands and knowing patients as people. Her first concern was that patients be treated in a way that would be helpful to them. On April 15th, 1979, Judith Karman lost her battle with Breast cancer, and she died at only 39 years of age.

Before she died she asked her friends and family to establish a memorial fund in her name that would be used to help critically ill patients and their families. They did just that, and more. That very same year Judith Karman Hospice was born. The very first hospice service in the state and, over 30 years later Judith Karman Hospice has provided top-quality medical care through the end of life, through the bereavement process and beyond.  JKH is a non-profit organization.  They are proud to say that no patient has ever received a bill – nor will they.  JKH is state certified, so Medicare and private insurance cover the biggest part of expenses.  What isn’t covered, Judith Karman Hospice absorbs the cost.

The caring and compassionate staff of JKH, allows terminally ill patients to spend their final days of life in their own home, amongst the people and things they cherish.

For more information about becoming a volunteer, call Valarie Bloodgood at (405) 377-8012.  For more information about Judith Karman Hospice, click here to visit https://www.judithkarmanhospice.org/

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