5 ways to offer hope for adopting parents

There are many types of adoptions — domestic, international, and through foster care. Adding more to the mix, domestic adoptions are now classified as open and closed, based on contact with birth family. With 135,000 children adopted in the U.S. every year, chances are high that you may know a family hoping to adopt. While wanting to be supportive, oftentimes we stumble on our own words or are uncertain about how to provide support to families or friends considering adoption, says Rebecca Vahle, an adoptive mother and the adoption program coordinator and founder of the Family to Family Adoption Support Program at Parker Adventist Hospital.

Parker Adventist Hospital's adoption program, supported by the Parker Hospital Foundation, is nationally recognized for its innovation in providing support to both the birth and adopting families before, during, and after the birth and adoption.

"People have the best intentions, but the reality is that most don't understand how difficult and stressful it is to go through adoption," Vahle says. "As a friend or family member, you can provide a great deal of hope for the couple by being knowledgeable about adoption and offering positive support when appropriate."

With National Adoption Month — November — on the horizon, now is a perfect time to freshen up on your adoption knowledge and learn how to provide hope during the adoption process. Here are five tips from Vahle:

  1. Understand that adoption has changed. In the early 1990s, only 1 percent of adoptions were open; today, up to 70 percent of adoptions are open, according to ABC News. Often, birth mothers and/or fathers are in contact with adoptive parents (referred to as open adoption). This can positively affect adoptees. The amount of contact is different for each situation, so it's important not to assume anything.

  2. Save your personal stories. Six out of 10 people are impacted by adoption, making it likely that you know of an adoption story or have a personal story to share. Unless it's a similar story (i.e., your sister adopted a newborn, too), refrain from sharing. "It often is not helpful to hear about your cousin's secretary who also adopted," Vahle says. "Everyone's situation is so different and so personal, hearing countless stories may or may not be helpful. And if you do feel led to share, certainly don't share a horror story."

  3. Remember prospective adoptive parents are expectant parents. Treat families pursuing an adoption like you would anyone expecting a baby. "A small baby gift or a pampering gift to soften the wait is a nice touch when they are so unsure of their future," Vahle says.

  4. Keep the questions to a minimum. Don't ask, "Have you heard anything?" every time you see the person. "Believe me, if they had, they'd tell you," Vahle says. Remind them you have been thinking about them and ask open-ended questions that don't trap them into the topic but give them the option to talk or to change the subject.

  5. Connect them with helpful resources. Parker Adventist Hospital's Family to Family Adoption Support Program and the "Adoption Perspectives" Radio Show are great places to start. The Family to Family Adoption Support Program, which is supported by Parker Hospital Foundation, provides resources and support for adopting families. The "Adoption Perspectives" radio show provides weekly commentary on adoption from multiple angles.

In addition to following these tips, you can provide adoption support by donating to the Parker Adventist Hospital Foundation, which helps fund the Family to Family Adoption Support Program, here:

Donate Now

New board chair passionate about Healing Arts program and giving back to Parker Adventist Hospital

To Joni Johnson-Powe, making a difference in her community has always been a priority, having been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, High Point Academy, and now the Parker Hospital Foundation. Originally from Denver, Johnson-Powe joined the foundation board four years ago and recently stepped into the board chair role.

"Having the opportunity to give back to my community and to a hospital that I've been a patient at, and that is right in my own backyard has been huge," Johnson-Powe says. "Now that I'm not traveling as much for work, I'm looking forward to the opportunity as the board chair to become more grounded in the community and make more of an impact."

While she supports all of the foundation's programs, Johnson-Powe is passionate about the Healing Arts program at Parker Adventist Hospital.

"I love music and the arts. Our program is unique and truly makes your experience at the hospital more intimate, relaxing, and enjoyable," Johnson-Powe says. "The program is a wonderful benefit for patients and great differentiator for the hospital."

Johnson-Powe, a licensed attorney and certified public accountant (CPA), is owner/ managing director of Taxnologi Solutions. She spent six years as president of the National Association of Black Accountants and was appointed to the IRS Advisory Council.

She has four children ranging in age from 2 to 16 and resides with her husband, Adrian Dragulanescu, just up E-470 from Parker Adventist Hospital.

To contribute to programs the Parker Hospital Foundation supports, visit:

Donate Now

Top reasons to attend the Hearts of Hearts Gala

The incidence of late-stage breast cancer has decreased by nearly 40 percent thanks to the accessibility of mammograms during the past 30 years, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. And although insurance plans must cover mammograms, many women do not have insurance. To ensure these women obtain this vital screening, the Parker Hospital Foundation underwrites the cost of screening mammograms for uninsured or underinsured women in the community. In addition, the foundation funds breast cancer support groups, counseling, and financial aid for breast cancer patients.

This year's 34th Annual Heart of Hearts Gala will support these and other breast cancer programs at Avista Adventist Hospital, Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Littleton Adventist Hospital, Parker Adventist Hospital, and Porter Adventist Hospital. The gala will be held on Thursday, Nov. 13, at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Denver. As a special treat, Bella Luna Cirque will be performing breathtaking aerial acrobatic entertainment throughout the evening.

By attending the gala, you can help provide much-needed resources for the continued advancement of breast cancer detection and treatment in our community. Consider these facts:

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in the United States. One out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Chances are high you know someone with breast cancer or are a breast cancer survivor yourself.

  • Although the most common cancer, breast cancer is not the deadliest thanks to earlier detection through mammograms and exams. In fact, deaths from breast cancer have steadily declined over the past 25 years. A woman's chance of dying from breast cancer today is only about 3 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

  • There are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. living today!

"The gala is truly an event that brings together everyone in the community for a cause that affects us all," says Laura Fitch, director of events at Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation.

For more information, visit: heartofheartsgala.org

Massage makes a difference

From reducing pain to lowering blood pressure, massage offers a multitude of benefits. At Parker Adventist Hospital, massage also provides a human connection and fosters hope, a vital aspect of the healing process.

"Through massage, we are able to remind the body that it can feel good again, while providing a human presence and caring touch during challenging moments," says Cheryl Johnson, LMT, a massage therapist at Parker Adventist Hospital.

Hand and foot massages are available free to Parker Adventist Hospital patients both pre- and post-surgery, and upon request by the medical staff. Starting in September, 30-minute table massages will be available for cancer patients in the Cancer Center.

Numerous studies show massage can boost immunity, reduce pain, lower anxiety, alleviate depression, and improve sleep.

"All of the research backs up the benefits of massage but, more than anything, what we hear from patients is a deeper, more personal benefit from massage," says Jude Keller, director of the Healing Arts program at the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation.

"The human connection truly touches patients' spirits and gives them hope," Keller says.

After a massage, one patient remarked, "Not only was it 100 percent wonderful, but also her soothing, caring demeanor made my day. I have been without friends and family in the hospital, so her loving human touch meant a lot to me."

Other patients have reported being able to sleep better and reduced medication usage.

Massage is provided free to Parker Adventist Hospital patients through the Healing Arts program, which is made possible through community donations to the Parker Hospital Foundation and gift shop proceeds. The Healing Arts program also includes visual arts, music, healing gardens, and community outreach to revitalize the mind, body, and spirit for patients, families, and staff.

To make a donation to provide massage and other Healing Arts to patients, visit:

Donate Now

5 ways music helps heal

An integral part of the Healing Arts program at Parker Adventist Hospital is music, which helps healing in a multitude of ways:

"Beyond the science, music provides emotional and spiritual benefits that reach the heart of us all, creating a deeper level of meaning, connection, and healing," says Jude Keller, director of the Healing Arts program at the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation.

From bedsides to the waiting area, presurgery to recovery, births to end-of-life support, music is provided 36 hours each week free to patients through the Healing Arts program. Made possible through community donations to the Parker Hospital Foundation and gift shop proceeds, the Healing Arts program also includes visual arts, massage, healing gardens, and community outreach to revitalize the mind, body, and spirit for patients, families, and staff.

Make a donation to provide music and other Healing Arts to patients.

Donate Now

Equestrian helmets:

How to know if your child's helmet fits properly

Head injuries account for 60 percent of equestrian-related deaths. Ensuring that your child wears a properly fitting equestrian helmet can prevent death and reduce the severity of head injuries.

"To be effective, a helmet must be worn every time, every ride, and must be adjusted to ensure a proper fit," says Vikki Pope, trauma program manager at Parker Adventist Hospital.

A properly fitting helmet should:

  • Fit firmly but comfortably (adjust dial-down helmets for snug fit)

  • Have no movement up, down, or around the head without moving the skin

  • Sit level on the forehead with at least one but not more than two finger widths above the eyebrows

To create an ideal fit:

  • Evenly distribute padding; add padding if gaps exist between the helmet and head

  • Adjust straps in front and behind ears to create a "V" shape below the earlobe

  • Secure buckle under the chin and ensure straps only allow one to two fingers between chin and buckle (have the child open mouth wide to ensure strap is adjusted properly)

"It's important to always test the helmet before riding," Pope says. "If the helmet can be pulled over the eyebrows, it is not properly adjusted or is too big, which is dangerous for the rider."

As children age, they will likely outgrow their helmets. Here are three signs your child may need a new helmet:

  • Complains of headache during or after a ride

  • Develops red areas on scalp or forehead

  • Needs padding removed, only leaving the inner liner

Parker Adventist Hospital's Equestrian Safety Program, which is supported by the Parker Hospital Foundation, conducts free community safety seminars and provides free custom-fitted helmets to Parker-area equestrians.

To schedule a complimentary equestrian helmet fitting and receive a FREE helmet for your child, contact Vikki Pope at 303-269-4809, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Building Parker Adventist Hospital creates strong foundation for new board member

When Ron Doolittle entered the construction profession more than 30 years ago, he knew his work would build value, but he didn't expect the strong personal connection that would develop with the facilities and people.

"I joined the Parker Hospital Foundation Board so that I would give back to the hospital that I have been involved with since its original construction and through multiple remodels and additions over the years," says Doolittle, who is a construction executive for GE Johnson Construction Company based in Colorado Springs.

Doolittle joined the board in 2014 and is eager to give back in whatever capacity he can.

"From the adoption support to the Trio Breast Cancer Center, every initiative the foundation supports is vital to the hospital and the community," Doolittle says. "I look forward to giving back to a hospital that has meant a lot to me both professionally and personally."

Originally from Michigan, Doolittle moved to Colorado after college. A job transfer took him to New York and then Illinois before he landed back in Colorado nearly two decades ago. Doolittle and his wife, Liz, have two grown sons. While they reside in Colorado Springs, Parker Adventist Hospital has been one of Doolittle's primary projects during the past 16 years.

How to support a loved one or friend with cancer

When a friend or loved one is battling cancer, the natural instinct is to want to help. Yet, not knowing how best to provide support might cause you to hesitate. Carol Jeanotilla, RN, developer of the Hope AmbassadorTM program at the Cancer Center at Parker Adventist Hospital, provides simple tips for supporting a loved one or friend with cancer. The Hope Ambassador program, funded through the Parker Adventist Hospital Foundation, trains all physicians, nurses, and other caregivers on how to create hope in cancer patients and their families and supporters. Three strategies you can use to create hope are:

1. Find your own support.

Often, supporters inadvertently share their own fears and concerns with the cancer patient, creating more stress and negativity for the patient. Confiding in someone other than the cancer patient can enable you to deal with your fears and be more supportive.

2. Be present; focus on the present.

Accompany your loved one or friend to treatment and join in on his/her favorite activities. "There is nothing more supportive than just being present," Jeanotilla says.

Keeping the conversation focused on today, rather than down the line, emphasizes small gains (i.e., concentrating on trying to walk to the bathroom rather than training for a marathon).

3. Practice positivity.

Positivity and hope are "neighbors," Jeanotilla says. Here are four ways to fuel positivity and, in turn, hope:

  • Change "if" to "when." For instance, rather than say, "If you can walk next year …" say, "When you gain strength and walk again ..."

  • Rather than comment on the latest catastrophe in the news, share stories of an underdog team that beat the odds or someone who did the unimaginable. "We forget that the impossible happens all the time," Jeanotilla says.

  • Encourage hoping "for" something rather than hoping for something "not" to happen. For instance, rephrase "I hope the cancer doesn't come back," to "I hope to be cancer-free soon."

  • Avoid saying or doing anything that would imply that you are not optimistic about the patient or his/her outcome (i.e., don't cancel trips or comment how "bad" the patient looks).

Encourage and learn about the science behind hope

Encourage cancer patients to continue participating in activities they enjoy. "The whole focus can be the disease and treatment; we often forget about the things we love," Jeanotilla says. "Remind them that cancer is just a small part of their bodies and their lives."

Jeanotilla also recommends learning more about the science behind hope and how you can be supportive during the healing process.

"Caregivers, family, and friends play such a huge role in helping people maintain and renew hope," Jeanotilla says. "We really can be the ones who help turn the tide at the moment of disappointment or hopelessness."

Learn more about how to create hope and the science behind hope here.

You can provide support for all cancer patients through the Hope Ambassador program, which is supported by the Parker Hospital Foundation.

Donate Now

Hope Heals

Imagine receiving a cancer diagnosis. You feel lost and uncertain about what steps to take next. While the world moves on around you, you feel isolated and like no one understands what you are going through. You have little time to think, let alone hope.

Now imagine what your experience would be like if you're surrounded by a medical team who spoke with honest optimism and understood your fears. They helped you set achievable goals for your cancer treatment journey, encouraging you to stay positive. Symbols, images, and surroundings echoed visions of peace, understanding, and encouragement. Regardless of your prognosis, you had the support to feel hopeful.

The Hope Program at Parker Adventist Hospital aims to create an environment and provide support so that every patient embraces hope. From Healing Arts to staff training, the Hope Program puts compassion into care and hope into healing. The program is fully funded by the Parker Hospital Foundation.

As part of the continued effort to elevate hope throughout the clinical experience, the program recently added Hope Ambassadors to the equation. Through hands-on training, Hope Ambassadors promote hope from seven angles: science, physiology, behaviors, language, environment, resources, and symbols.

"The essence of hope in our programs is grounded in evidence-based research," says Connie Wood, MBA, director of imaging and oncology services at the Cancer Center at Parker Adventist Hospital. "From words to actions, we are integrating hope throughout the entire healing process, which is not only important to patients and their families, but also to our staff."

Hope Ambassadors go through a four-hour training program that teaches them how to promote hope on a more regular, natural basis. For instance, Hope Ambassadors learn that rather than using words like "might" and "if," they can offer hope by using more optimistic words such as "when" and "I believe." Ambassadors also learn how to behave in ways that promote hope, such as helping patients set goals that foster positivity and recognize progress.

The Hope Program also promotes hope through symbols within the center, such as the Hope tree — a bristlecone pine, which is a sign of survival. A lending library for patients and staff that will offer books and other resources also is being built.

The first Hope Ambassadors include a mix of clinical caregivers — social workers, the oncology staff, and volunteers. Wood plans to include senior-level staff, board members, and community members in future trainings. "The more people who approach treatment in a comprehensive manner, which includes hope's role in our health, the more healing that will occur," Wood says.

Help ensure that the Hope Program thrives by making a donation to the Parker Hospital Foundation

Donate Now

Generous Matching Donation

Last fall, Diversified Radiology of Colorado physician group offered a $10,000 matching donation to benefit the Cancer Center at Parker Adventist Hospital. Generous community donors eagerly met the challenge, donating the full amount of the matching grant. As a result, the Parker Hospital Foundation dedicated $20,000 to provide vital cancer treatment and healing to patients from throughout the community.

"Diversified Radiology's goal is to support the people of the community," says Lawrence Emmons, MD, a member of Diversified Radiology and a Parker Hospital Foundation board member. "The Cancer Center helps ensure that people in the community have a home to get their health care. It's one of the many great programs that the Parker Hospital Foundation supports, ensuring we have resources right here in our community."

The Parker Hospital Foundation continues to raise money to support the new Hope Program at Parker Adventist Hospital. You, too, can ensure that Parker residents receive the best cancer care in their own community by making a donation.

Donate Now

A tree of hope grows in Parker

Photo of a Hope Tree sculpture at Martin-O'Neil Cancer Center at St. Helena Hospital in St. Helena, California

With some as old as the pyramids of Giza, bristlecone pine trees are renowned for their longevity and capacity to thrive through adversity. Native to Colorado, these gnarled trees flourish in high-altitude areas and boast a unique eight-segment stem system that quickly compensates for any losses to the main trunk.

For Parker artist Carol Jeanotilla, the bristlecone pine emerged as a grand symbol of survival, ideal for the new cancer center opening at Parker Adventist Hospital in November. Jeanotilla’s 3-D relief sculptures of the tree will complement the Healing Arts program by featuring more than 48 symbols of hope, as well as a knothole for patients and families to seal in their own wishes, prayers, and messages of hope.

“Think about the symbolism behind what a patient is going through, and what this tree is going through to live for thousands of years,” says Connie Wood, director of imaging and oncology services. “That is so meaningful in terms of fostering hope to help improve patient outcomes.”

To donate to the Hope Tree Project, please email Lisa Sandoval at lisasandoval@centura.org or call her at 303-269-4088.

Oncology surgeon motivated by the chance to make a difference locally

Making a local impact is a top priority for Christine Rogness, MD, FACS, an oncology surgeon and medical director at The Trio Breast Center at Parker Adventist Hospital. Beyond sharing her medical expertise and leadership, Rogness and her husband, Chris Winter, MD, FACS, medical director of the trauma program at Parker Adventist Hospital, regularly donate to the Parker Hospital Foundation and have for nearly a decade.

"We believe that it's important to provide services and support in the communities in which we work," Rogness says. "It's so nice to have an organization like the foundation to help those who need it, right here in our community."

Rogness built her career around providing exceptional care for women. The foundation helps extend that mission and keeps dollars local, unlike many national organizations, Rogness notes.

"The Parker Hospital Foundation is able to exert its influence in so many ways — adoption support, services for breast cancer and the oncology center," Rogness says. "The foundation's programs truly make a local impact."

To contribute to programs the Parker Hospital Foundation supports:

Donate Now

Trio Breast Center

The Trio Breast Center at Parker Adventist Hospital offers superior imaging of digital mammograms, a respect for a person's busy schedule and a warm inviting atmosphere conveniently located in Parker. Mammograms are read twice, first by certified breast radiologists and then with a computer-aided second read program. The Trio Breast Center is fully accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, FDA and the American College of Radiology and meets all requirements set forth by MQSA--Mammography Quality Standards Act.

To make a donation benefiting the breast cancer support group and purchase of equipment, please visit the Parker Hospital Foundation donation page and indicate "Trio Breast Center" as the intended fund.

Cancer survivor paints picture of hope, healing

Lee Ann Reynolds' "Grand Aspens" captures some of the delightful feeling of being in an aspen grove within a unique halo of light. Backlighting highlights the beautiful bark of these "elder" trees. It is one of several pieces featured in the Hope Gallery at the Parker Adventist Hospital Cancer Center.

The artwork at the Cancer Center at Parker Adventist Hospital depicts more than images and symbols of hope. Each piece reflects a personal interpretation of hope, as many of the artists are either cancer survivors or their art was inspired by loved ones who battled or survived cancer.

"From textiles to paintings to sculptures, each piece has a story, a purpose, and a perspective on hope," says Jude Keller, director of the Healing Arts program at the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation.

Parker resident Lee Ann Reynolds, who survived stage IV breast cancer, is the current artist featured in the Cancer Center's Hope Gallery. Her oil paintings showcase the beauty of Colorado.

"All of the art plays a role in healing, providing comfort and peace," Keller says. "The pieces done by cancer survivors, like Reynolds, add another dimension of inspiration and hope."

The Parker Hospital Foundation helps fund the Healing Arts program. In addition to art, the Healing Art program encompasses music, massage, healing gardens, and community outreach to revitalize the mind, body, and spirit for patients, families, and staff.

To make a donation to support local artists like Reynolds and other Healing Arts programs like providing bedside musicians and massages for patients:

Donate Now

The Fastest Rising Cancer Among Women — What You Need to Know

Can you always believe numbers? Thyroid cancer incidents tripled from 1975 to 2009, and the disease is the fastest growing cancer among women. However, the mortality rate from the cancer has remained unchanged, causing pause.

Understand the realities of thyroid cancer by attending the upcoming Body of Knowledge Seminar, The Increasing Rate of Thyroid Cancer: Fact or Fiction? Presenters Dr. Mark Willis and Dr. Sharmini Long of Parker Adventist Hospital will tackle the thyroid cancer statistics; discuss the role of technology in diagnosing the cancer; and explain symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for thyroid cancer — a relatively uncommon cancer that results from abnormal cell growth in the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck. Join us Thursday, May 1, noon-1:30 p.m. at the Parker Adventist Hospital Conference Center.

The Increasing Rate of Thyroid Cancer: Fact or Fiction? is one of several Body of Knowledge Seminars offered at Parker Adventist Hospital. Below is a complete list of upcoming seminars. Thanks to support from the Parker Hospital Foundation, all seminars are FREE but require registration by calling 303-777-6877, option 1.

Click here for a PDF download of all upcoming classes.

State-of-the-art healing for the mind, body, and spirit

Parents sing lullabies to calm children into a peaceful sleep; sweethearts serenade each other with string quartets; and harried vacationers unwind to the rhythmic lapping of waves along a beach.

The soothing effects of music go one step further at Parker Adventist Hospital, where therapeutic musicians from the Healing Arts program lull patients into a state of serenity before a treatment — often reducing their heart rates, blood pressure and anxieties.

Supported by the Parker Hospital Foundation, the complimentary Healing Arts program began with a piano in the hospital’s majestic lobby. As the music filtered under doorways and up stairwells, Director Jude Keller realized “doing health care differently” meant enveloping the entire facility in healing and tending to the whole individual. Patients and their families now also find respite in two rotating art galleries, a waterfall nestled in a healing garden, and bedside musicians.

Keller stresses these aren’t just pretty pictures on the wall or concerts aimed to entertain. The musicians are trained in a repertoire intended to lower blood pressure and to relieve stress, while the visual artwork primarily depicts nature themes in a palette of tranquil colors.

“Museums are for stimulating and surprising,” Keller says. “But that’s not appropriate for a hospital setting; it needs to be comforting and inspiring.”

For patients and their loved ones, the program creates transformative moments that bolster the spirit — as in the case of a family who held hands around the bedside of a passing relative while a harpist strummed a cherished hymn.

Those who experience these gifts of mental and emotional healing are eager to share the opportunity with others. If you would like to support the Healing Arts program, please contact Jude Keller at 303-715-7621 or JudeKeller@Centura.org for more information.

Equestrian Safety Program

In the Parker area, due to the popularity of horse riding, equestrian-related injuries are among the top five injuries most commonly treated Parker Adventist Hospital's emergency department. That is why the Equestrian Safety Program is committed to promoting public awareness of equestrian-related injuries, injury prevention, public safety and the importance of wearing an equestrian helmet. To date the Equestrian Safety Program has distributed more than 800 helmets.

Your donation allows the Equestrian Safety Program to provide safe riding helmets, services and educational programs to the community. Please visit the Parker Hospital Foundation donation page and indicate "Equestrian Program" as the intended fund.

Family to Family Adoption

Family to Family Adoption Support at Parker Adventist Hospital offers a specially trained, on-site adoption liaison and caring staff, who provide resources and extensive support to everyone involved in the adoption process. Family to Family Adoption Support believes in the love and caring of families who adopt children, and believes in the generous hearts and enormous love of parents who decide it is best to place their baby for adoption. It is their goal to make sure that the experience for both families is sensitive and caring, combining expert medical care with the utmost compassion and sensitivity. Parker Adventist Hospital is the only hospital in Colorado offering classes to adoptive parents and The BirthPlace delivery unit support during adoption placement. For articles, radio podcasts, lists of classes and special events, please visit the Family to Family Adoption website.

To be part of this amazing program, please visit the Parker Hospital Foundation donation page and indicate "Family to Family" as the intended fund.

5 yrs to 50k and $50k in 5 yrs

5th birthday of my second chance at life!!
(on behalf of Sean, grateful patient)

Today, November 10th, is a special tribute day for me. Not only do I get to celebrate my beloved United States Marine Corps' 237th Birthday on that day – honoring all those that have served the USMC and USA well. But, it's also the 5th birthday of my second chance at life - attributable to the amazing nurses, doctors, and staff of Parker Adventist Hospital and the Parker Hospital Foundation. I'm forever indebted to the great, life-saving care I received from the Parker Adventist Hospital staff.

November 2007 I had life-saving surgery at Parker Adventist Hospital - an emergency colectomy done by Dr. Barnes. He said I had one leg in the pinebox when he stopped counting all the holes in my colon at 16. At that time, I was just a few months in to running my own business and unfortunately my health insurance was inadequate. During my 10 days of recovery at the Parker Adventist Hospital and then the 6-8 weeks slowly recovering at home, I was panicked and depressed about my insurance and impending financial situation. How was I going to pay my bills and still keep a roof over my family's head? I was scrambling to figure it all out, when I received a surprising call from the Parker Hospital Foundation. It was a call to offer hope and help in our time of need. At the time, I didn't know that Parker Adventist Hospital was a non-profit hospital. I knew it was a Christian faith-based healthcare organization, but I had no idea there was a foundation in place to help those in need like myself. Well, than thankfully, our prayers were answered a few months after my surgery when the Foundation stepped in to help by utilizing funds from the Patient Assistance Program. Take a moment to read "The Adventures of oSTOMAn", my blog about this journey I've been on.

Now, 5 years later, I'm kicking-off my effort to give back and pay forward the generosity of the Parker Hospital Foundation by raising funds for the "Patient Assistance Program". This program helped my family in our time of need back in 2007. My personal fundraising fun run dubbed, "5 years to 50K and 50K in 5 years," is a 50km (31 mile) run, connecting three Adventist Hospitals (Castle Rock, Littleton, and Parker) in honor of and support for the Adventist non-profit healthcare system. It has taken me 5 years to build up to a 50km run and with this kick-off event I plan to raise $50K within the next 5 years for non-profit healthcare charities - primarily the Parker Hospital Foundation. I hope this tribute run to Parker Adventist's great staff:

1. brings attention, appreciation, and publicity to the wonderful Parker Adventist Hospital staff, the helpful Parker Hospital Foundation, and the entire system of non-profit Adventist Hospitals;
2. inspires others who have lost an organ, in my case the colon, to get out and lead a regular, fit life again;
3. starts to raise notable donations to the Parker Hospital Foundation for the next 5 years, and;
4. reinforces my appreciation for my wonderful wife, helpful kids, and incredibly generous neighbors, friends, fellow school parents, and Pax Christi parishioners who also stepped up and help my family and I in our time of need.

CLICK HERE to view a map of the 50km route I ran. It began at the Castle Rock Adventist Hospital and finished at Parker Adventist Hospital. My family, friends, fellow runners, bikers, and/or drivers kept me motivated and fueled. :)

I looked forward to joining a rally of current and past FIT EXPLORERS / HERITAGE RUN CLUB members at Heritage Elementary (13 mile mark of my run) around noon. FIT EXPLORERS / HERITAGE RUN CLUB is a 3rd-6th grade fitness club I have voluntarily led for more than 6 years now. At our rally, I lead kids through a motivating set of calisthenics, a fun set of run laps to ensure I got a full 50km run in, they signed a giant THANK YOU CARD FOR THE PARKER ADVENTIST STAFF, and enjoyed some well deserved refreshments. Parker Hospital Foundation envelopes were handed out to FIT EXPLORER parents as part of my fundraising efforts.

I thank you for your prayers and thoughts for the successful completion of my tribute run and during my annual visit to the Parker Adventist Hospital Med/Surg floor. I also encourage you to donate to their Patient Financial Assistance program. It is because of this community of generous donors and the financial resources of the foundation that I was given a second chance in life, and successfully at that!

Thank you for your consideration and support,
Semper Fi- Sean

Donate Now