ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Hendrick Hospice Care team is asking for help from the community during Light Up a Life, the annual project that raises money for its patients and families.

“Hospice care is something that I think scares a lot of people because you’re facing something very serious, like a terminal illness,” said Hendrick Hospice Care Director Dr. Lauren Templeton.

Dr. Templeton says usually when people hear “hospice care,” they think it’s an “end-of-life decision.” 

“As a scary word, it’s really not quite what it is. It’s the illness that’s scary, it’s the loneliness that’s scary,” said Dr. Templeton.

Her team at Hendrick Hospice Care says they prioritize comfort and quality of life, reducing pain and suffering someone may go through. 

“We start thinking about hospice when you start facing that terminal illness and you have thoughts of, ‘Maybe I don’t want to go back and forth to the hospital anymore,'” said Templeton.  

Dr. Templeton says there is no timeline on how long someone could be on hospice care.  

“When they’re ready for hospice care or when it’s time for hospice, they’re envisioning those last hours and days of life. Ideally, that’s actually months before, even years sometimes,” she says. 

Each year the center holds its Light Up a Life campaign in order to continue to provide services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. 

For each $15 donation, a bulb is placed on the Mall of Abilene or Sweetwater tree in memory, in honor, or in celebration of a loved one. 

“We want you to include us, we want to be your support team, we want to make it a little less scary and a little more focus on comfort, happiness, and joy,” she says. 

Most of the care the center provides can happen wherever the patient feels most comfortable and/or considers home.

“Truly, it revolves around where we can achieve the best management of their symptoms and what their goals are as to where they spend their last days, weeks, months, maybe even years of life,” Templeton says. 

Dr. Tempelton says it’s in each family’s best interest to make the hospice care decision as soon as possible, to help extend their loved ones’ lives to their fullest potential.

According to Hendrick Hospice officials, they say your donation to Light Up a Life serves as a lasting tribute to someone special in your life and our shared community. 

Click here if you would like to help participate in this year’s fundraising.