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Agrace HospiceCare News

First-ever “Gala on the Green” Fundraiser to Benefit Local Patients Served by Agrace

GOTG shareonfbimageJANESVILLE, Wis. – On Saturday, May 30, Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care will host a fun, new opportunity for the community to support Agrace's mission. Gala on the Green is a formal affair for all Agrace supporters in the ballroom of the Janesville Country Club.

The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Janesville Country Club, 2615 W. Memorial Drive, Janesville. Guests will enjoy a stylish night filled with cocktails, gourmet dining, great prizes, a putting contest and live music by The Godeans. Tickets are $100 per person and must be purchased by May 20.

Gala on the Green will include a silent auction with dozens of fantastic donated items, as well as a live auction led by Bob Johnson of Badger State Auction and Real Estate. Attendees can bid for the chance to win:

  • a quarter side of beef from Arndt Farms, Inc.,
  • a summer golfing package with foursomes at seven of Wisconsin's most elite golf courses and
  • an Ultimate Sports Fan package, featuring the choice of MLB, NBA, NFL or NHL regular-season tickets or PGA Tournament tickets, plus a three-night hotel stay and airfare for two.

To purchase tickets for Gala on the Green, call Agrace at (608) 755-1871 or register online at by May 20.

Founded in 1978, Agrace is a nonprofit, community-supported hospice and palliative care agency dedicated to providing exceptional care and support to patients and families facing the challenges of serious illness. With offices in Madison, Janesville and Baraboo, Agrace serves more than 650 patients every day throughout southern Wisconsin.


Agrace endowment committee: Working for a dignified death for all

In some sense, societies are measured by how they treat their most disadvantaged, particularly dying individuals. A dignified death for all might seem like a hopelessly unrealistic goal, but we are writing to the citizens of Dane and surrounding counties to say this is attainable, and that citizens in these counties can contribute to making this ideal a reality.

Most of you are familiar with Agrace, the nonprofit organization that provides palliative and end-of-life care to approximately 650 individuals a day in Dane, Rock, Sauk, Green, Iowa, Columbia, Dodge, Jefferson and Walworth counties. Agrace patients receive care in their own homes or at a residential facility, and these critical services are typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. Tragically, some are ineligible for various reasons, such as age or government approval delays. Consequently, these individuals cannot pay for part or all of the services they need and deserve.

This is where Agrace's Care for All steps in. Over the last five years, the program has given hospice and palliative care to hundreds of these patients in our community. There was the 14-year-old daughter of a farm couple, who exhausted their resources trying to help their daughter and alleviate her pain. Care for All allowed her to spend her last days in the Ellen and Peter Johnson HospiceCare Residence, where she passed away under expert medical care and surrounded by family. There was the young couple with two small children whose insurance policy's hospice coverage was inadequate. Care for All enabled the husband, dying of brain cancer, to spend his last 15 days at home with his wife and kids. There was the Vietnam veteran who had no resources or family. Care for All ensured his last days were lived with dignity.

We expect this program to incur annual expenses of about $750,000 per year going forward, which is why we are making an effort to raise awareness of Care for All now, and have created an endowment program. We are seeking to create an endowment $15 million, which will annually generate the $750,000 necessary to sustain the program into the future. In order to show its Care for All commitment and to initiate the endowment, which we expect to complete by 2019, Agrace will contribute $2 million.

Creating an endowment has several advantages for individual donors and Agrace, but, most importantly, for the patients. For example, donors will know that their contributions will not serve a one-time need, but will be utilized again and again for the benefit of Care for All patients. Moreover, donors recognize that Agrace's successful, 37-year history proves it is fully capable of efficiently managing and maximizing their contributions in perpetuity.

In conclusion, this endowment campaign addresses an issue that spans societal boundaries, and raises a fundamental question about our community and perhaps ourselves: How do we treat the most disadvantaged among us when they are dying? The committee believes our community can indeed treat these people well, and are willing to extend our utmost efforts to ensure Agrace can continue to provide this fundamental right to all. If you agree, please join with us in creating a Care for All endowment that will make this ideal a reality for decades to come.

Agrace Care for All Endowment Campaign Committee: Linn Roth and Jean Martinelli, co-chairs, and members Dr. Lou Bernhardt, Dan Bertler, Bill Buglass, Casey FitzRandolph, Bill Fuhrman, David Knoche, Pete Lundberg, Gary Molz, Kristine Moses, Lynne Myers, Terry Murawski, Dr. Layton Rikkers, Tara Saleh, Michael Smith, Jeff Tews, Mike Van Sicklen, Mike Yaktus, Marcia Whittington, Courtney Polster, Tracy Buglass.

$150,000 gift from Johnson Bank Kicks off Agrace HospiceCare Endowment Campaign

Johnson Bank Care For All Kick Off DonationMADISON, Wis. – Johnson Bank is presenting a donation of $150,000 to Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care to kick off the Agrace Care for All Endowment Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise $15 million over five years to create an endowment that will help ensure that local patients receive the compassionate end-of-life care they need, even if they have no means to pay.

Agrace provides hospice services to people with a life expectancy of six months or less and a primary goal of comfort, rather than cure. While Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance cover the cost of basic hospice services for most patients, too many others lack this coverage.

The Care for All Endowment Campaign will create a sustained source of funding that enables Agrace to continue to provide free or discounted care to all hospice-eligible patients who need financial assistance to pay for their care. The funds raised in the endowment campaign will be invested to generate annual income that will help pay the cost of providing charitable care into the future.

"Johnson bank is honored to lead the charge in providing for the growing needs of the most vulnerable patients in our community in a respectful way," said Greg Dombrowski, president of Johnson Bank. "Supporting this important mission is consistent with our organization's values of improving the communities we operate within."

"We are so honored that Johnson Bank has stepped forward with a gift to launch Agrace's Care for All Endowment campaign," said Marcia Whittington, chief development officer for Agrace. "Agrace and Johnson Bank share a common belief that everyone deserves the chance to die with dignity, regardless of their circumstances or their ability to pay for the care they need."

More information about Agrace's Care for All Endowment can be obtained by calling (608) 327-7209 or visiting

About Johnson Bank
Johnson Bank is a member of Johnson Financial Group, a premier financial services company offering comprehensive financial solutions in the areas of banking, wealth, and insurance. The $4.2 billion financial services company operates in Wisconsin and Arizona. Principal owners of Johnson Financial Group are members of the Samuel C. Johnson family. Helen Johnson-Leipold is chairman of Johnson Financial Group and chairman, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Johnson Outdoors Inc. in Racine, Wisconsin. For more information visit and

Founded in 1978, Agrace is a nonprofit, community-supported hospice and palliative care agency dedicated to providing exceptional care and support to patients and families facing the challenges of serious illness. With offices in Madison, Janesville and Baraboo, Agrace serves nearly 650 patients every day in southern Wisconsin.


103-Year-Old Spring Green Woman Fulfills Life-Long Goal

Marie Hunt graduationAs posted on, WMTV, Madison, WI

SPRING GREEN, Wis:---One hundred three-year-old Agrace HospiceCare patient Marie Hunt received her high school diploma Friday.

Marie Hunt is a life-long Spring Green resident. She said she had no way of getting to and from high school so she stayed home after 8th grade and helped raised her eight younger brothers and sisters.

She would have been a graduate of the River Valley High School's class of 1928.

Marie told her Agrace RN Debra Pfaff, "My biggest regret is not getting my high school diploma." Three of her siblings went to college, and she thinks she "might have been college material, too."

After hearing this, Debra immediately began to work with Marie's Agrace social worker, Laura Burden to plan this very special graduation celebration for Marie.

Dozens of Marie's friends and family members joined Marie at her home at the Meadows Assisted Living and Memory Care in Spring Green to watch Marie walk into the graduation ceremony. She wore a traditional cap and gown and received her River Valley High School diploma 87 years after classmates received theirs.

River Valley High School principal Kimbert Kauki, River Valley School Board President Kay Lynn Taylor and Superintendent Tom Wermuth gave Marie her honorary diploma.

Volunteers sit vigil with patients during their final hours

As written by Shelly Birkelo in The Gazette, January 26, 2015.

, Vigil Volunteer


Krause, who is strong in her Catholic faith.

She has no fear of dying, she said.

"I was comfortable enough to know the vigil volunteer program would be something that would provide me another chance to experience what a blessing it is to be in someone else's life at that point and to help them through their end-of-life journey," she said.
Krause is among 85 trained Agrace vigil volunteers. Ten of them serve Rock County patients, said Andy Boryczka, manager of volunteer services for Agrace.

"I'd love to double that number to provide the care and support our patients and families in Rock County deserve," he said.

The vigil volunteer program is one of Agrace's most widely used services, Boryczka said.

"There's a huge, huge need. We get requests several times a week throughout the (Rock County) service area; sometimes multiple times on a given night. On a recent Friday, three different patients requested that same service," he said.

The vigil volunteers provide comfort and reassurance for patients and their loved ones, Boryczka said.

"Time and time again, we hear from the family what a great gift it was to them," he said.

Scott Geister-Jones, Stoughton, agreed.

When his father, 92, was dying, the vigil volunteer gave him the opportunity to take a break, go home and rest.

"My mom has passed, I have no cousins, and my sister lives in Europe. So for me, it was comforting to be able to go home and get a little rest knowing Pop wasn't alone. It was sweet and an act of love. I appreciated it very much," he said.

Vigil volunteers are required to provide a minimum of 50 hours of service with patients, complete a special application and attend training, Boryczka said.

A vigil volunteer has to be peaceful, calm and quiet and comfortable holding someone's hand for hours without any return interaction, he said.

Krause said vigil volunteers are caring and compassionate, and their goal is to make the journey of the dying less lonely.

"I wouldn't want to be alone nor would I want my family to be alone," she said.

"If I can make anyone less lonely, then I feel like I've done what I've set out to do."

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