Image highlights from 2024 GAT

34th Annual VNA & Hospice Foundation Golf-A-Thon is a triumph!

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) & Hospice Foundation held its 34th annual Golf-A-Thon fundraiser on Monday, May 6, 2024, and it was a huge success, raising over $526,000! The event was held at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach and was hosted by golf pro, Troy Pare, who is the club’s Director of Golf and Membership Sales. The benefit was played on the Harbor Course, a certified Audubon Cooperative International Sanctuary, designed by iconic American golf course designer, Pete Dye.

The day commenced at 7 a.m. when Troy and 12 other local golf pros teed off and played several rounds of golf, not stopping until 4:30 p.m. Donors supported the participation of their golf pro in the event with all donations supporting the VNA’s Charitable Care Program, which provides compassionate hospice and home health care along with access to the VNA Hospice House for residents in our community who cannot afford their care. The importance of our mission cannot be overstated, and the VNA & Hospice Foundation could not support this invaluable program without our incredibly generous donors, for whom we are incredibly grateful.

Our marathon day of golf concluded with a Shoot-out contest. Golf pro Anthony Ranieri from Pointe West Country Club won, coming in at 1 foot 7 inches. This was followed by an awards ceremony and cocktail reception inside the clubhouse where the VNA & Hospice Foundation Director of Development, Michelle Deschane, thanked everyone profusely. “The VNA & Hospice Foundation sincerely appreciates the efforts of our volunteers and the support of our donors and community partners. Because of you, the VNA can continue its mission of providing hospice and home health care to the residents of our community who are uninsured or underinsured but who desperately need our care,” said Michelle.

The Foundation’s Board Chair, Carol M. Kanarek, also spoke. “It’s great to hear the stories of what people say about the VNA and why they participate. It makes it all worthwhile. I thank each and every one of you,” she said passionately.

A special thanks was also given to Eva and Bill Gurley, Grand Sponsors of Golf-A-Thon; Ned and Emily Sherwood, Elite Sponsors; and Michael J. Pierce, Event Sponsor.

In addition, appreciation was given to co-chairs Carol Ceplenski, Gail Parsons, and Catherine Reichert, who were thrilled with how the day turned. “It’s great we all raised so much money for the VNA. That’s where our hearts are,” said Carol Ceplenski. Catherine Reichert concurred. “The day’s been excellent, and the volunteers have been fabulous,” she said.

We would once again like to express our gratitude to the 14 participating golf pros: Matthew Challenor from Windsor Club; David Champagne from Orchid Island Golf Club; Drew DiSesa from Riomar Country Club; Randy Hedgecock from Vero Beach Country Club; Steve Hudson from John’s Island Club; Ian Killen from Indian River Club; Don Meadows from Quail Valley Golf Club; Frank Mentzer from Oak Harbor Golf Club; Bela Nagy from Sandridge Golf Club; Troy Pare from Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club; Thomas Brinson from The Moorings Yacht and Country Club; Eddie Suchora from Bent Pine Golf Club; Jason Berchtold also from Bent Pine; and Anthony Ranieri from Pointe West Country Club.

Thank you, gentlemen!

It is not too late to make your donation to the Golf-A-Thon and support your golf pro. For more information, visit  – and make a difference in your community.

image of Bill and Eva Gurley with golf tee background

Thank you to Golf-A-Thon Grand Sponsor Eva & Bill Gurley

A big round of applause for Eva and Bill Gurley who have been significant supporters of the VNA & Hospice Foundation for many years. Eva is currently on the VNA & Hospice Foundation Board of Directors and the VNA Hospice of Indian River County Board of Directors. This year, she and Bill are delighted to take on the role of Grand Sponsor for the 34th Annual Golf-A-Thon, the major fundraiser for the VNA & Hospice Foundation. They appreciate the work of the chairs, staff, volunteers and the time and talent of the golf pros for the success of the event. All funds raised ensure that VNA’s work in the community continues in pursuit of high-quality home health and hospice care.

Many Indian River County families who require essential health care services do not have the financial resources to pay for them. But thanks to the VNA & Hospice Foundation, the VNA can care for these people, whether they need home health services, like post-surgical care, or end-of-life care through hospice. The VNA provides hospice wherever a patient calls home, and for patients who can no longer manage their symptoms at home, the VNA offers Hospice House, a beautiful facility with 12 private rooms where patients receive care 24/7.

The VNA is the only local non-profit organization providing compassionate home health and hospice care to our most fragile population, and we couldn’t do it without the generosity of the community. If you’d like to help our mission, please consider supporting the VNA & Hospice Foundation’s 34th Annual Golf-A-Thon. Your contribution will ensure the VNA can continue to provide home health and hospice services to our friends and neighbors who lack financial resources to obtain the care they desperately need and deserve. You can donate securely online at

Smiling health care worker embracing female patient.Programs

VNA, More Than Just Hospice Care

Many people associate the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) exclusively with hospice, however, we offer so much more, including multi-faceted home care services. These services are offered to all members of the community, regardless of their ability to afford their care. That’s because providing quality healthcare to local residents who are uninsured and underinsured is a key aspect of the VNA’s mission, which sets us apart from other local home health agencies.

Our home health services provide comprehensive coordinated care through an interdisciplinary team of professionals who work closely with our patients’ physicians to arrange care in their home or place of residence. Our focus is to provide compassionate, innovative care of the highest quality, setting the standard for patients and caregivers needing home health services. These services include cardiac care, wound care, cancer care, neurological/dementia care, fall prevention, and care for chronic illnesses such as COPD and kidney disease.

VNA also offers the Hospital Prevention Program (HPP), a patient-centered home health service launched last year. It’s geared toward helping high-risk patients with severe diagnoses, like end-stage respiratory disease and congestive heart failure, who are susceptible to hospitalization or rehospitalization, remain safely at home. Not only do patients benefit physically and mentally, but they avoid high costs associated with hospitalization.

This respectful, comprehensive approach to healthcare is reflected in another VNA program, Community Health Services, which is supported by the VNA & Hospice Foundation. This includes the VNA Mobile Health Clinic, which provides affordable healthcare to the vulnerable in our community, including many young families.

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), who are qualified to examine, diagnose and prescribe treatments and medications, see patients for illnesses such as upper respiratory infections; eye and ear infections; minor cuts, skin infections and rashes. They also provide school and sports physicals for Indian River County students. Our APRNs also provide health education and health screenings throughout the community to promote living a healthy lifestyle.

This holistic approach to healthcare is also a cornerstone of VNA’s flagship program, hospice. Home hospice care is provided by a patient’s interdisciplinary team that’s comprised of a medical director, residential nurse case manager (RNCM), social worker and chaplain. Home health aides, volunteers and music therapists are also integral parts of the team. Routine care may include pain management, symptom management, assistance with daily tasks and personal hygiene, like bathing, and emotional and spiritual counseling for the family. The frequency of visits by VNA caregivers is based on the patient’s plan of care developed by the interdisciplinary team and family.

For those patients who require intense around-the-clock care, VNA Hospice House is another option. The VNA Hospice House feels like a comfortable, elegant home-away-from-home that includes beautifully appointed patient rooms. Fortunately, VNA Hospice House is also available to home hospice patients for five days once a month for Respite Care. The goal is to provide the primary caregiver, usually a family member of the hospice patient, “time off” from caregiving while their loved one receives 24/7 coordinated care from the in-house VNA Hospice House staff.

If you would like to learn more about services supported by the VNA & Hospice Foundation, please visit


A Journey With Hospice Inspires A Volunteer

“My mom dying in a hospital was not the best, so that’s when I became interested in hospice,” says Karen Formont, a volunteer for the Visiting Nurse Association’s (VNA) Golf-A-Thon, VNA & Hospice Foundation’s annual fundraising event. During the monthly Golf-A-Thon meetings, Karen learned about the two types of hospice care VNA offers: home hospice care and in-patient hospice care at VNA Hospice House, a state-of-the art facility in Vero Beach for end-of-life care. She was impressed by VNA’s comprehensive approach to hospice, and when her aunt became sick, advised her cousin to contact the non-profit. “My cousin’s first opinion was, ‘Oh hospice, that’s dreary. You’re just kind of sent there to die,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, you know nothing about hospice.’”

Fortunately, Karen’s cousin took her advice, and her mom spent her final days comfortably at the VNA Hospice House. “Afterward, my cousin was just crying on the phone with me (saying) ‘thank you so much, what a wonderful way for everyone to say goodbye to her.’ I think the problem with hospice is people don’t know what they don’t know,” says Karen.

During Karen’s aunt’s stay at the VNA Hospice House, her care included music therapy, a special VNA Hospice program that Karen said her late aunt and extended family thoroughly appreciated. Another VNA service Karen was educated about was advance care planning, something she had personal experience with before her mom and dad passed away. “It’s easier for the person to make the decisions about themselves than it is for the family, and I think that’s another thing they’re very helpful with here at VNA, helping you with the steps to take,” she says.

Witnessing her aunt’s experience with hospice made Karen appreciate the benefits of having hospice care sooner rather than later. “I wish that people would contact this organization before the last few moments of someone’s death and realize they can get the support both before and after their loved one’s death,” she says.

Karen’s recent familial experience with hospice has also inspired her to volunteer even more. “I want to start sitting with people (on hospice) that have no one to be with them because I just think it’s very important to have someone in the room,” she says. “Everybody deals with death at some point, whether it’s a spouse, a parent or a child, and that’s why I feel really passionate about it.”

To learn more about VNA services or becoming a VNA volunteer, please visit

Senior couple discussing advanced care planning paperwork.Programs

Why Advance Care Planning Is So Important

While advance care planning is useful for anyone, it’s particularly important for those looking for the best end-of-life care experience and considering hospice. At the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), we understand this process may initially seem daunting, which is why we’ve made it as seamless as possible with the help of our advance care planning team.

The first step of the program is an information session, where you meet with a nurse practitioner and licensed clinical social worker in your home to evaluate your health and educate you on available services and treatment options. They will also provide you with supportive literature and tools to empower informed decision making and self-advocacy after the visit.

The importance of advance care planning cannot be overstated. It plants the first seeds of thought about your long-term healthcare wishes and serves to invite open conversation and consideration of what are often deemed uncomfortable topics. If appropriate, it affords the opportunity to receive accurate education about hospice philosophy and services, dispelling myths and breaking down barriers to what is the only service that can support the needs of the dying.

Advance care planning not only provides the opportunity for choice and active participation in your plan of care, but it is a way of planning proactively rather than reactively – before a health crisis occurs. It’s also a way of saying ‘I love you’ to your family. By having an advance directive in place, it alleviates the burden of decision-making for them.

For more information about advance care planning, please call our office at 772.567.5551 and ask to speak with one of our advance care planning specialists. You can also find more information about advance care planning at

2023 Golf-A-thon- prosGiving

The Countdown is On for the 34th Annual Golf-A-Thon

We are a little over two months away from the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) & Hospice Foundation’s 34th annual Golf-A-Thon. This unique event showcases 13 local golf pros who tee off at 7 a.m. in an attempt to play 135 holes of golf in one day, with all donations benefiting the VNA’s Charitable Care Program. On Monday, May 6th, 13 golf pros and countless volunteers will meet at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club for a day of fun, golf and generosity.

The VNA first held the Golf-A-Thon in 1990 with 4 pros playing a total of 103 holes of golf and raising $21,000 for the VNA’s Charitable Care Program. 33 years later, we have 13 pros committing their time and talents to help raise critical funding for the VNA’s mission in the community, raising over $510,000 in 2023 to help those who are under and uninsured get the home health and hospice care they need and deserve. This event is the amazing success that it is because of all of those involved:

The local golf clubs who support us.
The 13 golf pros who take time out of their hectic schedules to play a very long day of golf.
The Golf-A-Thon volunteer committee members who help plan this event from January through May.
Countless volunteers who come out the day of the event to help ensure a smooth and enjoyable day of golf for the pros.
Our incredible sponsors who underwrite this event which maximizes the amount of funding that goes to the VNA’s Charitable Care Program.

The hundreds of generous donors who give to support the VNA’s mission and support their favorite golf pro.

The VNA’s Golf-A-Thon is unique among the many golf fundraisers held in our community. It’s an event where only the golf pros are on the course, attempting to play 135 holes of golf in a single day. It’s an idea that longtime former VNA Board and Committee Member, Ba Stone, brought back to the VNA from her hometown in Connecticut 34 years ago. It’s amazing to see the growth of this event over its tenure here in Indian River County, and back in 2005, Ba surmised that the continued enthusiasm and devotion of our supporters were to thank for that growth. The VNA is lucky to have a community passionate about the VNA and the Golf-A-Thon!

During the past few weeks, the Golf-A-Thon Committee and volunteers from each of the 13 clubs participating in the Golf-A-Thon spent time assembling over 10,000 pieces of mail that will be mailed today. Residents of the participating golf communities should see your club’s brochure in your mailbox soon! If you’d like more information about the Golf-A-Thon and how you can support the VNA and your favorite golf professional, go to

The countdown is on for the 34th annual Golf-A-Thon! May 6th will be here before you know it, and we hope that you are as excited as we are for this amazing fundraiser that provides critical funding to ensure the under and uninsured residents of Indian River County get the home health and hospice care they need and deserve.


community members signing papers to leave legacy giftGiving

VNA & Hospice Foundation’s Nightingales: Ensuring the Future of Our Agency

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) & Hospice Foundation is fortunate to have a group of supporters committed to ensuring the longevity of our agency. Created in 1995, the Nightingale Legacy Society is comprised of over 300 members who designated the VNA in their estate plans. A few ways this can be done are: leaving a percentage of their total estate to the VNA, opening a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA), designating the VNA as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy or IRA or creating a blended gift. However, becoming a Nightingale is not just about making a gift to the VNA, it is a way to strengthen the foundation for the VNA’s work in our community.

The VNA & Hospice Foundation was established to raise the funding needed for the programs and services offered by the VNA of the Treasure Coast. This includes funding the VNA Hospice House, Bereavement Program, Charitable Care Program and so much more. All our donors help the VNA achieve our mission of providing the highest quality home health, hospice, and community health services to residents of Indian River County, ensuring our patients and their families experience optimal quality of life and extending that care to the under and uninsured in our community. And while our loyal donors help us achieve this mission today, our legacy donors help us achieve our mission in the years ahead.

As we think about our own estate plans, the question that often comes to mind is: how will I be remembered? Leaving a portion of your estate to a non-profit organization is a way to show your family and loved ones the values and causes you supported during your life. It creates a legacy that forever links your name with the organizations you have championed during your lifetime. The VNA’s Nightingales want to know that the VNA will continue to offer high-quality services in the future for our community, helping their friends and family members who might need us. Our Nightingale’s value the VNA and in turn we created this society to show them how much we value their commitment to us.

In return for including us in their estate plans, the VNA seeks to honor each of our Nightingales. Their commitment to our patients is celebrated each year with a luncheon to thank them for their legacy gift and update them on what is happening at the VNA. On February 6th, 2024, we held the 22nd annual Nightingale Legacy Society Luncheon, recognizing the importance of this esteemed group and thanking them for their commitment to the VNA’s mission through their legacy gifts. The funding that will come to the VNA from these individuals will ensure that our mission lives on in the community not just today or tomorrow, but in the future.

If you are interested in learning about how you can leave a legacy gift to the VNA and become a member of the Nightingale Legacy Society, click here.


Collage of images including the MCDonald Family and images of Hospice House grounds.Giving

Impacting a VNA Hospice House Patient and Their Family Through Your Donations

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) & Hospice Foundation kicked off our 2024 Annual Fund campaign in November 2023, requesting our donors to support the VNA’s mission of providing the highest quality home health, hospice, and community health services to residents of Indian River County. As a non-profit organization, we extend home health and hospice care to the under and uninsured residents of our community, seeking to ensure everyone has access to the care they need and deserve. This would not be possible without the generosity of our donors. Your support allows the VNA to provide care to vulnerable populations through your donations to our Annual Fund.

The VNA Hospice House is one of the many programs supported through donations to the Annual Fund. This vital asset to our community needed over $1.4 million of philanthropic support in fiscal year 2023 to provide care for hospice patients who could no longer receive their hospice care at home in their final days. Built in 2000 and fully renovated in 2021, the 12-bed facility was designed to feel like a home and not a cold, sterile medical facility. The VNA Hospice House was created to be a place where patients and their families could experience dignity and compassion in those final days, with a caring staff dedicated to ensuring comfort during a difficult time and an environment that promotes tranquility and a sense of peace.

We had the opportunity to speak with the McDonald Family, who graciously agreed to provide a testimonial for our Annual Fund this year. Lara McDonald, a 34-year-old stylist for Anthropologie, passed away at the VNA Hospice House in April 2023 from colon cancer. Lara’s mother Jill, a Vero Beach resident since 2004, didn’t realize that this incredible facility was tucked away next to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital on 37th Street. “I walked in the door, and I remember just standing there and going ‘oh my gosh’…I didn’t even know this was back here,” Jill said.

From being able to bring Lara’s dog in to visit her, to rolling Lara’s bed out onto the porch to view the tranquil gardens, Lara’s sister Alix noted: “Anything just to make her [feel] comforted in that moment, you all tried your hardest.” Caitlin, Lara’s other sister, reminisced about the impact on their family during Lara’s stay: “The care you provided for my sister was incredible, but it was almost that it was more so for us and that was so amazing. I think that anyone would be so lucky to spend their final moments here.”

Navigating through the hospice experience can be an emotional and difficult journey for patients and their families, especially during a patient’s last few days with us. The VNA Hospice House is a place where families like the McDonald’s can feel secure knowing their loved one is receiving the highest quality of care while also receiving the support they need as well. The VNA Hospice House, along with the staff and volunteers who work there, creates a sanctuary for our patients and their loved ones. This community treasure would not have been possible without our donors who helped us create this sanctuary and who keep it available for residents in our community. Your donations to the VNA & Hospice Foundation allowed the VNA to give Lara McDonald the compassionate care she needed and the whole McDonald Family the support and comfort they needed as they said goodbye to their beloved Lara.

If you would like to help support the VNA’s programs and services, including the VNA Hospice House, please consider donating to our 2024 Annual Fund by clicking here.

To read more about Lara McDonald and the care she received at the VNA Hospice House, click here

Image of the VNA Mobile Health Clinic busGrants

Community Health Services in Action in Indian River County

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of the Treasure Coast has a vision of working together to provide the highest quality patient care for those needing home health, hospice and community health services. As a non-profit organization, our mission extends to the under and uninsured residents of Indian River County. One way that the VNA helps provide care to those in need is through Community Health Services, specifically with the VNA Mobile Health Clinic.

The VNA Mobile Health Clinic offers affordable care, with Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who treat all ages, infants through adults. Our APRNs can examine patients, diagnose conditions, and prescribe medications for things like:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Sore throats
  • Earaches
  • Colds and flu
  • Skin infections
  • Eye infections

Beyond that, the VNA Mobile Health Clinic team works hard to help patients gain access to community resources they need to remain healthy. Patients are often referred to a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), such as Treasure Coast Community Health and Whole Family Health Center, to ensure they get established with a medical home, starting their journey to receiving the health care they need and can afford based on their personal situation.

Additionally, the VNA’s Community Health Services team goes above and beyond for our community every day. Regularly throughout the month the VNA Mobile Health Clinic visits subsidized housing communities in Vero Beach offering blood pressure, glucose and other health screenings. But the care given goes beyond those screenings. The team asks residents if they made their doctor appointments in the last month, if they have their necessary prescriptions filled and how their overall health is. If a resident didn’t make a scheduled doctor’s appointment or didn’t refill a prescription, the team takes action to help remedy these issues, making certain they are getting the care they need.

The VNA’s Community Health Services team is a shining example of the VNA’s non-profit mission in action in our community. The VNA cares about the health and wellness of all Indian River County residents and we want to ensure those who have limited access to health care can get connected with the care they deserve. The VNA Mobile Health Clinic and Community Health Services team are only available to residents because of the generosity of this community. The VNA Mobile Health Clinic was recently refurbished both inside and out thanks to grants from the John’s Island Foundation. The operation of the VNA Mobile Clinic is generously funded by the Indian River County Hospital District and a Community Enrichment grant from the Indian River Community Foundation. The VNA’s incredibly loyal donors help fund any remaining needs to keep the VNA Mobile Clinic and our Community Health Services team out in the community five days a week.

Having access to affordable care is difficult for many people in our community, but thanks to our generous community partners and donors, the VNA can help provide care to those in need. For more information about the VNA’s Community Health Services and the VNA Mobile Health Clinic, go to



Gearing Up for the 34th Annual Golf-A-Thon

As we start 2024, the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) & Hospice Foundation and our amazing Golf-A-Thon Committee members are already hard at work planning for the 34th Annual Golf-A-Thon. As our only annual fundraising event, the Golf-A-Thon is incredibly important, providing the necessary funding for the VNA’s Charitable Care Program. Last year’s event brought in a record $510,000, ensuring the VNA can continue to bring the highest quality home health and hospice care to those who are underinsured and uninsured in Indian River County.

The VNA is lucky enough to have thirteen of our local golf clubs participating in this event which will be hosted by Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club! The Golf-A-Thon has not been held at Grand Harbor since 2009. Their championship golf courses combine meticulously maintained landscapes, serene surroundings and perfectly manicured greens, creating a work of art in a natural environment. The Golf-A-Thon will be played on the Harbor Course, designed by Pete Dye, which features tiered greens, undulating fairways and deep pot bunkers, which can all be traced back to the historical Scottish links-style. The course has been recognized as a certified Audubon Cooperative International Sanctuary since 2001, and it’s a beautiful example of the harmony between man-made design and the surrounding ecosystem. Playing golf on this course is a great example of “living grand.”

Troy Pare, Director of Golf and Membership Sales at Grand Harbor, has participated in the Golf-A-Thon since 2021. In his 25th year as a golf professional, Troy is still relatively new to Vero Beach, Florida, having joined the club in March 2021. Troy has been married to Kimberley Pare for 22 years and they have two sons: Hunter (17) and Logan (15). If Troy is not on the golf course, he is either on the Indian River boating or fishing, or at home doing something with the kids. Troy is a huge supporter of the VNA and our mission in the community. We are so grateful that Troy has championed the VNA through the Golf-A-Thon the last few years and that he has taken on the task of being host pro for our 2024 event!

The 34th Annual Golf-A-Thon will be held on Monday, May 6 at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club with proceeds benefiting the VNA’s Charitable Care Program. Sponsorships are now available to support your favorite golf pro. Go to or call 772-978-5568 to learn more about this unique event, and see how you can support the VNA and your club’s golf professional!