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How to Live a Lifetime – and Leave a Legacy – of Service
Most of us strive to live in a way that positively impacts others, but few of us imagine that we’ll manage to rack up nearly a century of service.
Louise McFarlin has achieved a great deal in her 91 years, but she has no intentions of slowing down. She has taken up oil painting, attends Pilates classes and encourages others to join her in supporting local charities, including the Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation, which supports Treasure Health’s family of services.
Originally, hospices were fully funded by philanthropy. Today government reimbursements cover 85% of the cost of hospice care, but palliative care, hospice houses and grief counseling services are only made possible by donors like Louise.
Louise has made the most of every stage of life, whether it was serving her country during World War II, forging an advertising career in the “Mad Men” era, or spearheading successful charity fundraisers. Even after losing her husband of 45 years, her positive outlook exemplifies what life after loss can be. In fact, one of the highlights of her life occurred after he passed away. She was recognized for her WWII service with an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., and asked to place a flag on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Louise is humble about her contributions, but serving others is integral to her belief that “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” In her early teens, she became a hospital volunteer at the suggestion of her mother, a nurse. During WWII, she joined Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), doing research to help prepare U.S. troops for the invasion of France. After the war, Louise took advantage of “a little crack at the edge of the glass ceiling” in Baltimore’s advertising industry.
Working her way up, she built a successful career as a media director overseeing several accounts, including National Bohemian Beer, a $5 million client. She also joined fellow trailblazers in the American Women in Radio and TV organization, serving as a president.
Sharing Her Talents
After meeting and marrying Harry “Mac” McFarlin, Louise channeled her prodigious energy into helping with hospital fundraisers in Washington, D.C.
After Mac retired and the couple settled in Florida Louise planned to leave volunteering behind, but she soon became involved with local charities, including Founding Friends of Treasure Coast Hospice. For two years, she served as treasurer. In 2007, Louise’s appreciation for hospice services deepened when Mac was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
For more than four years, hospice volunteers visited him two mornings a week. Recalling that time, Louise says, “Hospice gives so much during a person’s life and after, by caring for their caregivers and families.” Energized by giving back, Louise dedicated one of her precious respite days to volunteer at a hospice thrift store.
Just short of his 100th birthday, Mac died at home under hospice care. Louise asked family and friends to make contributions to the Foundation in his honor, determined that “when someone helps you, you help them in return.”
Legacy Circle of 100
With that in mind, Louise decided to help Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation recruit 100 supporters who will join her by leaving a gift to the Foundation in their will, trust or other estate plans. In doing so, she hopes to ensure that ailing members of our community and the people who love them will always get the compassionate support they need. Louise and other donors support several Treasure Health programs that would be impossible to sustain without their generosity.
When a patient has a serious illness, the Treasure Health Palliative Care team works with their physicians to find ways to minimize pain and maximize quality of life. The team helps patients understand treatment options and identify goals for care, reducing the frequency of emergency room visits and hospitalizations and minimizing symptoms like pain, nausea, weight loss and fatigue.
Although government reimbursements cover a percentage of hospice care, it’s donors who make hospice houses possible. When patients require around-the-clock care from medical professionals, they can stay at hospice houses. Treasure Health currently runs three hospice homes and all three offer 24/7 care from registered nurses as well as daily consultations with doctors.
Sometimes grief can feel like a taboo subject and those experiencing losses have no idea how to talk about or deal with the challenges they face. Treasure Health offers grief support through individual counseling, youth counseling, group counseling and family counseling. There’s also a special camp for children, Camp Good Grief, that encourages children aged 8 to 18 to express their grief and develop bonds with others who have experienced similar losses. Because of donations, these programs are available without charge and no one is turned away from these crucial services when they need them most.
If you’re interested in leaving a legacy of service like Louise, you can make a lasting impact with a gift to the Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation. Before the end of the year could be a smart time to act if your giving will have serious tax implications. For instance, a charitable gift annuity or an IRA charitable rollover can significantly impact your tax liability. For more information about Treasure Health’s palliative care, hospice, and grief support programs, visit treasurehealth.org. To learn how you can help the Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation, visit treasurehealth.planmygift.org.