When the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) cares for a hospice patient, our focus is on ensuring they experience optimal quality of life at all times. One way the VNA achieves this is through Project Wish. Project Wish is a donor-funded program that allows the VNA to grant end-of-life wishes.

As VNA clinicians and social workers interact with our patients, they help identify last wishes. These wishes could be reliving experiences they once enjoyed, experiencing something on their bucket list, tying up loose ends or even simple requests like a home repair that would improve their care environment. Some wishes are simple to orchestrate and some require more planning and coordination. A dedicated team of volunteers help execute these wishes, arranging transportation, trying to find in-kind donors willing to supply their services and so much more. These generous volunteers and the donors who fund Project Wish impact the lives of our patients by giving them an experience that will improve their quality of life during a difficult and emotional time.

In September 2023, Project Wish was able to grant three wishes to hospice patients. First, we were able to help a hospice patient replace their broken air conditioner since he did not have the funds to pay for a new one. A local church donated the window unit and Project Wish donors covered the cost of installation. Now this hospice patient can keep receiving care in his home comfortably. The second wish was for a hospice patient with a love of fruit. Her shopping volunteer noted that her weekly food costs were mainly from the fruit purchased that she really enjoyed. However, the high cost of fruit was hurting her small food budget. This patient’s hospice counselor asked the Project Wish team if we could send her a fruit basket. Thanks to Project Wish donors, the VNA was able to subscribe this patient to a monthly fruit basket for three months so she can enjoy something she loves without worrying about how she would pay for it. The last wish granted in September was also about creating a comfortable environment for a patient. This patient’s counselor noted that the family did not have any living room or kitchen furniture in their home; our patient was sitting on a beach chair. Our Project Wish team knew that the VNA’s thrift store, Hidden Treasures, would be able to assist with this wish. Project Wish purchased a couch and dining room set, and some end tables and lamps were generously donated from Hidden Treasures as a surprise for the family. What makes this wish very special is that the end tables given to this family were donated by a long-time VNA Hospice volunteer whose wish was for her belonging to be donated to Hidden Treasures when she passed.

Often when we hear about granting wishes we tend to think of grand trips and experiences of a lifetime. For many of our patients, their wishes are simple, and September’s wishes demonstrate that: a new window unit air conditioner, some fruit to enjoy, and a comfortable chair to sit in. Even the smallest wishes can have a huge impact on a patient’s life. Imagine being at home, receiving hospice care with no air conditioning when it’s over 80 degrees outside. The end-of-life journey is difficult to navigate and doing so in an uncomfortable environment makes it even more difficult. Replacing an air conditioner seems like such a simple ‘ask,’ but even granting a small wish like this makes an immediate positive impact on our patient. Sara Bumgarner, Director of Volunteer Services and the head of our Project Wish Program, shared: “One of my favorite quotes that speaks to the mission of Project Wish is from actor, Misha Collins. He said, ‘Even small acts of kindness can make a profound difference to someone else.’ For our hospice clients, it is the small kindnesses that bring joy, contentment and quality of life.”

Whatever the wish is, the VNA and our Project Wish team do their best to try to make it happen. Since 2019 we have granted over 30 wishes thanks to the generosity of our donors, volunteers and community partners who have donated their services. Your continued support of this program will allow the VNA to keep granting these wishes. A donation to Project Wish contributes toward an experience that brings a smile to the faces of our patients and families. As they navigate a difficult and emotional time in their lives, the experience created by granting their wish helps us achieve our mission to ensure our patients experience optimal quality of life.

If you would like to support Project Wish and positively impact the lives of our patients, please visit: vnatc.org/project-wish/.