Daffodils bring color and hospice care | SteamboatToday.com

Daffodils bring color and hospice care

North Routt artist Barb Ross uses the daffodil every year for inspiration for Northwest Colorado Health’s hospice fundraiser. (courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Against the white and gray of winter, the annual daffodil fundraiser not only brings essential funds to the Yampa Valley’s hospice program, they also provide a happy and hopeful splash of yellow.

The daffodils arrive March 12 and can be ordered ahead of time here, or purchased for $5 a bunch at City Market stores in Granby, Steamboat Springs and Craig, Hayden Mercantile, Ace at the Curve, Bonfiglio Drug in Oak Creek, and the Clark Store in Clark.

Each year for the past two decades, North Routt artist Barb Ross takes the inspiration of coming spring to create the fundraiser’s poster and accompanying greeting cards which will be for sale with the daffodils.

It’s also a cause close to Ross’ heart. As soon as the hospice program began in Steamboat in the early 1990’s, Ross signed up to volunteer.

Hospice, Ross said, “is a huge gift to any community it is in.” As a volunteer, while some might be intimidated by the gravity of the role, “What I’ve found is that its an honor to be welcomed into a family at that pivotal time in a person’s life,” she said. “It’s very real.”

The funds raised each year through the daffodil and greeting card sales make it possible for Northwest Colorado Health to provide hospice to all residents in the valley, regardless of their insurance or their ability to pay.

So do the team of volunteers who give their time (and hearts) to patients and their families.

“Our community members play a huge part in helping fund hospice,” said Julie Gates, Northwest Colorado Health’s clinical supervisor of home services.

In addition to allowing Northwest to accept every single patient, the money goes toward medical supplies and medications, Gates said.

At a ceremony last week, Jan Fritz, the woman who first brought hospice to the Yampa Valley, was honored with the Hazie Werner award.

“She did a tremendous job getting it off the ground,” Gates said of Fritz. “It’s a testimony to the kind of nurse she is.” Even in the nine years Gates has been with the program, it has grown significantly.

Approximately 40 people now work in hospice, Gates said, and they are all there because they love and value the work they do. “It’s important to recognize that death is inevitable,” Gates said. “And that we will all face it.” Hospice gives families and patients “someone to walk them through the process — someone to help get you through it.”

“It’s hard, but it’s life,” Ross said. “Anytime death is that close, any time death touches you, you remember that life is not infinite, necessarily, in this form.” For Ross, volunteering gave her a chance to refocus, find balance, find the “opportunity to be more clear and ask yourself ‘what do I want in this life?'” Ross said she felt she received more than she gave. “It’s a blessing for both — for the family to have the support, and the volunteer to be part of a very sacred time.”

Today, Ross donates her time and talent to the design and creation of the annual poster and cards.

With Steamboat still in the depth of the snowy cold winter, “The daffodil is especially meaningful here as the first herald of spring,” Ross said. “It reminds us that, whatever situation is going on in life, there’s hope. And juxtaposed against the white, the daffodil is so vibrant. It’s a reminder of spring and new life, and that life goes on.”

Among the flower kingdom, she noted, there’s something exceptional about the daffodil in its ability to bring a smile to people’s face.

“It brings brightness into peoples’ homes,” Gates said. “And reminds us that spring is around the corner.”

Online orders of 10 bunches or more will be delivered March 11 in Steamboat Springs and Craig and March 12 in Grand County. Smaller orders can be picked up March 12 at Northwest Colorado Health:  940 Central Park Drive, Suite 101 in Steamboat Springs or 745 Russell St. in Craig.

Prices are as follows:

  • $5 per bunch (10 daffodils per bunch)
  • $24 for 5 bunches
  • $46 for 10 bunches
  • Greeting cards: $15 for a pack of 5 cards

For more information on the hospice volunteer program, or to volunteer for the fundraiser, call Kyleigh Lawler at 970-871-7609. Visit here to make a donation in lieu of daffodils.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @KariHarden.

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