Living Life to the Fullest: A Story of Hope and Hospice

Jun 19, 2024 | Foundation, Integrative Therapies, News, Patient Stories, Social Work

Gwynn’s Story

Gwynn enjoying a walk near her home.

Gwynn enjoying a walk near her home.

In the heart of every human, there is a longing to live life as fully as possible. Hospice of the Northwest patient Gwynn embodies this spirit. Her story captures the essence of hospice care and its purpose: to enhance a person’s quality of life as they near the end of life.

Diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and told she had only days or weeks to live, her doctor gave her two options. She could start chemotherapy and radiation or pursue hospice care. Traditional treatment options offered little hope, and Gwynn worried they would only prolong her suffering.

“I was in so much pain,” she recalls. “I wasn’t sure I could endure the effects of chemo. All I wanted was to live the rest of my life in peace. That’s why I chose hospice.”

A Tailored Care Plan

When she started hospice, Gwynn partnered with her transdisciplinary care team on a personalized care plan tailored to meet her needs and goals. The plan included pain and symptom management to help Gwynn live more comfortably. It also involved support from a social worker who provided guidance on burial options and a spiritual counselor who became a source of solace for her.

After three months of hospice care, Gwynn has outlived her prognosis and has experienced a significant improvement in her quality of life. With pain and other symptoms under control, she can now do many things she enjoys, including a daily walk on a nearby trail. “Before hospice, I was dying. Now I’m living,” Gwynn said gratefully. “Hospice of the Northwest gave me my life back.”

Integrative Services

Among the many services Hospice of the Northwest offers, massage therapy holds a special place in Gwynn’s heart. She emphasizes the immediate and profound impact this has on her well-being, “When I get a massage, I feel so good afterward. It’s as though I’ve transcended beyond my physical ailments to a place of peace—peace in my body, my soul, and the peace to live.”

Integrative services like massage therapy are critical components of hospice care for patients like Gwynn. However, Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers do not cover these services despite their therapeutic benefits. Your generosity allows hospice patients to access integrative services, elevating their quality of life beyond the reach of conventional medicine.

“It feels so good to be alive and happy. This is the life I wanted to live. And to live like this at the end of life? It’s like I’m getting a little taste of heaven.”

Gwynn’s experience with hospice care is a powerful reminder of the difference hospice care can make in the lives of people facing life-limiting illnesses. At Hospice of the Northwest, patients like Gwynn receive more than just medical care; they can receive services that nurture their body, mind, and spirit though integrative services, funded by philanthropy. Gwynn’s story is a testament to the quality of life hospice care can provide, allowing patients to embrace every moment with compassion and dignity.

Learn more about how philanthropy is making a transformational difference for patients like Gwynn. Visit or click here to read the latest addition of the Aspirations newsletter.

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