My mother passed of Leukemia in 2000 after a month in Essentia enduring chemotherapy. Stem cell replacement was virtually a new treatment of the cancer and that was our hope at that time. Unfortunately she never made it through the chemo treatments and ended up in hospice. I commend the nurses and volunteers on 3E at Essentia. From the day we put her in for chemo therapy to the night we sang What A Friend We Have In Jesus at her hospice room bedside, they held our hands, gave us reassuring hugs and helped us understand the process of dying with dignity.

The hospice nurses and volunteers knew the answers to our questions when we didn’t understand, they knew when we needed them in the room and when we needed time alone. When my mother wanted to sing gospel songs, they were there with a hymnal book (my sister and I needed the words). Truly, truly special people that there are no words to thank for their help during such a very difficult time.

Do you desire to help others?  Essentia is looking for hospice volunteers with compassion and dedication. Perhaps if you’ve lost a loved one through that process you’d be perfect. I always say “life experience” is the best way to teach others. Essentia hospice volunteers are knowledgeable because the hospital takes the time to train them properly. You would never be expected to address a situation you weren’t trained in, for both your sake and that of the family and their loved one.

This call goes out to the entire Northland, not just for the Essentia in Duluth. There is a great need on the North Shore and in Silver Bay as well as on the Iron Range and in Grand Rapids.  Being a volunteer in hospice can be defined in many ways. People think it’s strictly dealing with the families, but perhaps you have a musical skill or some patients may wish to be read to.

According to our media partners website,, Essentia will be holding classes that will teach potential hospice volunteers in the areas of philosophy, grief and bereavement, spiritual care, infection control and symptom management. The classes are coming up March 20, 22, 27 and 29 from 4:30-8:30 at Essentia Health, 407 East 3rd Street in Duluth. You do need to register for the training classes by calling 218.786.4020. Iron Range residents can call 218.749.7975. In Grand Rapids, call 218.327.8780.

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