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Help When You Need It Most

Mary Thola Matze was a spirited and vivacious lady who proudly wore her high heeled shoes until she was 98 years old. She was a lifelong Mariner fan, and when she felt good, she loved to go dancing. Looking back, her daughters, Corrine and Arlene, remember her as a fun person to be around.

After a fall, at age 99, which required a hip replacement, Mary still enjoyed trips with her daughters, along the path around Yakima's Kissel Park, in a wheelchair. On Christmas Day, when she was 103, Mary got a blood infection, which eventually resulted in her feeling increasingly weak and tired.

Mary no longer wanted to eat. Corrine and Arlene painted her fingernails and looked after her in other ways. But eventually, Mary's doctor suggested hospice.

"Mom was slowly fading," says Arlene. "The staff was very compassionate and caring. Every time we were there, someone came in to check on her." "And they explained everything to us," Corrine added.

This was not Corrine's first experience with hospice. Her husband, Herman Neubert, was a farmer for more than 25 years in the Yakima Valley, and a well-loved baseball umpire before his cancer returned in 1998. Herman chose to spend his last days at home, where hospice nurses, staff and volunteers helped enhance the quality of life for Herman, as well as his family and friends touched by his terminal illness.

And so, when Corrine and Arlene looked at local foundations dedicated to helping the community, having experienced the value of hospice, they wanted to invest in making the service available to others.

"When someone you love is given a terminal diagnosis, you feel so alone. You can't imagine how much it means to have help until you're in that position and help arrives," Corrine says.

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