Friday night, Hospice of Acadiana celebrates 30 years with their second annual gala. The gala, titled 30 years, 30 prizes, gives Hospice representatives a chance to thank the community volunteers for their past and present success.
“It's been wonderful because you know that what you're doing is making a difference in the community,” said CEO of Hospice, Louis “Buzzy” Hebert.
A difference that has impacted thousands since the opened their doors in 1983.
“We have seen over 17,000 patients in our 30 years. We have touched those patients and we have touched their families. It's just monumental,” Hebert said.
Thirty years ago, a group of volunteers saw a need for a hospice in Acadiana. They started with one simple promise; to never turn away a patient in need.
“We wouldn't be here today if it weren't for those volunteers making that happen and continuing every year to give from their heart,” explained Myrtis Ashley, Foundation Director.
Currently, 350 volunteers help support one of the oldest non-profit hospice locations in the state.
Ashley said, “That's what's so impressive. I've never seen a volunteer organization with this many volunteers and I've been in this business for over 20 years.”
Sponsorships, raffles and donations are also a big part of their success. Sponsorships from Acadiana businesses made it possible for all raffle proceeds at Friday's gala to go to Hospice for programs. Raffles sales have made 2013 a history making and record breaking year for the foundation; their first ever six figure fundraising year. Additionally, a memorial tree, located in the lobby of Hospice, showcases hundreds of leaves, ready to be engraved with the names of one's lost family member. A leaf on the tree contains the name, birth date and passing date, and can be obtained through a donation of $100. Ashley thanked sponsors once again for the tree, which is 100 percent paid for; allowing all leaf donations to go to hospice programs.
Although the gala is wrapping up 30 years of progress, Ashley and Hebert said it's only the beginning. In upcoming years, they hope to launch a general patient unit in Lafayette.
“Some of the hospices in the nation run their own general patient unity. It's like a little mini hospital and they take care of patients,” explained Hebert.
He also hopes to see a Hospice House built. Hospice House would be a place for patients with no care-giver to receive help in a home like setting as an alternate to a nursing home.
“Whatever it takes to make the patient feel comfortable, that's our mission.”
At Friday's gala, guests will be treated to catering donated by dozens of restaurants, entertainment and a look back at the history of dance. Drawings for raffle prizes including a Mazda 3 Touring Skyactiv and the 270 RKS Camper will take place starting at 8pm.