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Gowns for Hospice

Cyndi’s dream becoming a reality.

Violet’s Volunteers became a reality because of Cyndi Nelson. She has had this dream to make gowns for hospice patients since her mother, Doris Violet Waugh, was on hospice (in 2005) and had to wear old hospital gowns. Achieving this dream wasn’t possible because her own health has been challenged by pulmonary fibrosis and Parkinson’s disease. Cyndi’s mother, Violet, was a warm, fun loving young woman who loved people. She was the mother of four children and the grandmother of eight. She lived most of her life on farms in Hoffman, and Barrett. One of her many talents, was gardening, both vegetables and flowers. Her flower arrangements adorned her church for Sundays and for weddings, as well as the Senior Center in Elbow Lake. Her family and friends were her life and she did many acts of kindness for anyone in need of a little cheering up. Violet and her husband, Stan, spent 19 years of retirement wintering in Arizona and summers on their farm near Barrett. In 1996, she began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, which she battled for 12 years. The last two years she received services from Douglas County Hospice. Violet lost her battle with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. Thus began Cyndi’s dream to provide respectable gowns for Hospice patients…the gowns being used were donated, second-hand, patched and ragged. In 2010, Violet’s Volunteers began the “Mission Project” of supplying Hospice of Douglas County with enough gowns for all our loved ones and friends who are on Hospice and at the end stage of their lives. This is a way of sending our families, friends and strangers a more positive and loving message of their importance to us, Church and community, by providing them with love, in sunny colors and prints for women; burgundy and navy and camouflage for men. Cyndi believes it will show them how important they are to us and to the community. These gowns will help them to look and feel better about themselves, while helping them maintain their dignity and connection to life, as well as preparing for death. The ultimate end goal for this mission project is to challenge other church mission and/or community groups to help plant the “mustard seed” in every community so soon every county in the State of Minnesota will have enough gowns for all our loved ones in the Hospice programs so no one will have to die in ragged gowns. Cyndi hopes that word of this mission will then spread from state to state. There is no dream too impossible! Currently, Violet’s Volunteers are well on the way to reaching their goal of making 150 gowns for Hospice. According to Sue Quist, Hospice and Palliative Care Coordinator for Hospice of Douglas County, “our patients are continuing to enjoy wearing the beautiful gowns.” If you would like to know more about volunteering to sew gowns, or if you are interested in starting your own Violet’s Volunteer group, please contact me (Mary Jane) at 320-763-7089.

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