Young and old alike listened raptly to featured speaker Alex Montoya’s heartfelt message of finding hope and inspiration in the midst of grief and loss. Then, one by one, many with tears in their eyes, they lit a candle in memory of their loved ones while the Threshold Choir sang at a poignant Hospice of the North Coast (HNC) Light Up A Life (LUAL) memorial celebration on December 2, 2012 at the Museum of Making Music. The volunteer choir also provides music therapy at the bedsides of terminal HNC patients in their homes.
Montoya, a Colombian immigrant, was born without three limbs yet has accomplished the three personal goals of his American Dream, including now serving as Manager of Latino Affairs for the San Diego Padres. His other two were to attend Notre Dame and become a writer.
In sharing his life story with the 100-plus people in attendance, Montoya confided that his beloved sister and unconditional supporter died in June. Saying, “I will forever be grateful for hospice for making her transition peaceful,” he encouraged people to follow his example. “We grieve. We mourn. But we remember. We allow our loved ones to continue lighting up our life by lighting up the lives of those around us.” He concluded by imploring, “Never let that light stop shining.”
In addition to comforting and uplifting people grieving the loss of a loved one, HNC’s annual LUAL is a fundraiser. The proceeds enable this nonprofit hospice to treat hundreds of terminal patients whose families will never be billed. HNC Executive Director Nerice Kaufman says, “We ease our dying clients’ transition and help those who love them continue on their life’s journey.”
Nonprofit Hospice of the North Coast was established in 1980 to fill the need for comprehensive, compassionate hospice care in North County San Diego. Since its inception, it has grown in services, staff and clients. It currently provides a full spectrum of programs to terminally ill clients and their families, including anticipatory and post-death bereavement support, as well as a Pathways Program for those with a declining chronic disease. To fulfill its mission of maintaining dignity, comfort and highest quality of life for those it serves, regardless of ability to pay, HNC hosts fundraising events, operates a family support camp and resale shop, and maintains a cadre of volunteers.
–HNC Press Release