Wowed by hospice house, Stacy Blanchard joins board of directors
Stacy Blanchard, her husband Joel, and their two daughters live in Redwood City just a few blocks from our hospice house. They had never heard of Mission House and had no idea that it would come to play such a role in their family.
For two decades, following a major back surgery, Joel’s dad Ron had suffered from a rare kind of viral encephalitis that led to brain trauma in the frontal lobe. He retired to enjoy a life of travel, golf, and time with his children and their families, but due to Ron’s heavy medication requirements, speech and memory loss, and seizures, his wife Helen became his full-time caregiver. After Ron’s 80th birthday, his falls became more frequent and his body was unable to handle the impact. For Helen, caregiving felt even more overwhelming.
When it was clear that he was ready for hospice and it was no longer practical for Ron to stay at home, his nurses at Sequoia mentioned Mission House as an option. It was a relief to the whole family.
“From the time we walked in, it was so calm, so welcoming,” says Stacy. “The house was warm and peaceful; his room was beautiful and comfortable. The staff are professionals, but they make it feel like home.” Stacy had been through a number of very personal losses, and says she’d never before had this feeling when walking into a care facility. “As soon as you come through the door, you feel like family,” she says.
In the several weeks that Ron was at Mission House, his extended family was there every day, even taking Ron out in a wheelchair for walks in the neighborhood. They enjoyed having a private entrance to the garden, where they could have lunch together while Ron slept, and could step outside when someone simply needed space or air. Stacy says they appreciated how attentive and loving the staff were – towards Ron as well as the family. “It was such personalized care,” says Stacy. “He was never alone, even when we needed to take a break.”
Stacy says the house allowed them to spend meaningful time together as a family. “Ron really loved music. One night, we played some of his favorite music and we all sang together. He just loved that – and so did my mother-in-law. It was a great way to spend the moments we had left with him.”
After Ron’s death, Stacy says the Mission House team performed a ceremony that brought her family to tears.
“I had never seen anything like that. Just when you think these amazing people have given us as soft a landing as you can give anyone, here they come with rose petals and music. We thought we had no more tears left, but we cried again. It was so special, and we are so thankful.”
This experience with Mission House inspired Stacy to get involved. As a Senior Managing Director at Accenture, she advises healthcare organizations and leaders on strategy and transformation. Her background made her a perfect fit for our Board of Directors, and in May, she was elected to the board along with Mukund Acharya and Dr. Michelle Pezzani.
Stacy is thrilled to be part of the team, and passionate about spreading the word about Mission Hospice. She’s dedicated to educating people about end of life and palliative care, choices in caregiving, and advocating for your loved ones. “People need to know that they have options – and access to this amazing care right here in our community.”