Canton, Ohio: Ten years ago, Louisville resident, Jerry McEowen lost his first wife to cancer. However, her last days, weeks and months were made comfortable for both of them by Mercy Hospice. “They were so loving and kind to us both,” remarked McEowen. Several years later, he, felt a “strong desire to comfort” men who have went through the loss of a spouse like he had, and he wanted to give something back to a program (Mercy Hospice) that helped him emotionally and physically when he needed it most. McEowen has a “special fondness for and a close relationship with” Mercy Hospice, and wanted to become involved.
In 2007, he saw a small advertisement in the local newspaper, the Louisville Herald, about volunteering for Mercy Hospice, “I felt this was the Lord speaking to me,” commented McEowen, “I dialed the phone number in the ad to see what the next step would be.” Retiring in 2005, his second wife was still working, and McEowen felt this was the perfect time to not only begin “giving back” to Mercy Hospice, but to also support and comfort widowers like himself.
His first experience volunteering for Mercy Hospice was being there for a young widower who lost his wife and “needed a buddy to help with his bereavement – he needed somebody who has went through what this gentleman has been through”, McEowen explained. He felt it was a privilege and an honor to be there for this young man and to share his own experiences with him.
“I feel it is a real blessing to volunteer for Hospice,” said McEowen, “It is spiritual and emotional care for the patient and the family – not just the medical care.” So strong was his desire to comfort and support widowers, that he, along with fellow Hospice volunteer, Bob Poleon, began a Men’s Breakfast, through Mercy Hospice, that is geared toward men who have lost their spouses. This breakfast is held in a relaxed and friendly environment for widowers to socialize with other men who understand. The group meets the second Friday of each month at 9 a.m. at the Canton Regency Retirement Community, 4515 22nd St. NW, Canton. “This breakfast is open to ALL widowers,” explained McEowen, ”It is not limited to only those who have used Hospice.” He added that they started the breakfast because men typically don’t want to talk about their experience or share their feelings with others – he hopes this program will help them to do so with others who know what they are going through.
McEowen certainly does not believe his involvement with Hospice is coincidental – he strongly believes he is supposed to use his experience to help others deal with the loss of a loved one, “Everything happens for a purpose as to the will of God.” For more information, or to register for the Men’s Breakfast, please call Mercy Hospice at 330-649-4380 extension 2114.
More than 4,000 hospice care providers and their 550,000 volunteers provide care to over a million terminally ill patients in the United States. Volunteers like those at Mercy Hospice do more than perform a service. They have a passion and a calling to care for the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients and their families.
McEowen is just one of the 65 volunteers who make Mercy Hospice the caring and compassionate program it is today. The Mercy Hospice program is dedicated to helping patients with a life-limiting illness achieve the best quality of life possible while offering respite and comfort to their caregivers and loved ones. Serving adults and children with a terminal illness, hospice gives patients the opportunity to remain at home, or in a home-like setting, with the people and things they cherish most. For more information about Mercy Hospice, or to learn about volunteering opportunities, please call 330-649-4380 or visit cantonmercy.org.
Mercy Medical Center, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has 620 members on its Medical Staff and employs 2,500 people. Mercy operates outpatient health centers in Carrollton, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Louisville, North Canton, Plain Township and Tuscarawas County. A Catholic hospital, Mercy Medical Center upholds the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and continues to be responsive to the needs of the community. For more information, see cantonmercy.org.
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