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Hospice fundraiser marks agency's 30th year in community

It was 1978 and a young Dr. Richard Kirk had a vision.

According to Dr. Kirk, "Hospice grew out of my need to fulfill the needs I saw in my patients. Going into medicine, you're geared to cure. Treating an incurable disease is frightening as hell."

Dr. Kirk was a prime mover behind establishing Lower Valley Hospice, at the time a volunteer organization at Valley Memorial Hospital, to help terminally ill patients and their families.

Dr. Kirk read Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's On Death and Dying, which sealed his desire to establish a hospice in the Sunnyside area.

Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care is now celebrating its 30th year and will be honoring the founders: Dr. Richard Kirk, Michael Cunningham (an MSW at Valley Memorial at the time), and Father Roger Williams (Reverend of the Sunnyside Episcopal Church at the time).

These three gentlemen will be present at the annual hospice dinner and auction, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 2, at St. Joseph Parish Center in Sunnyside. Doors open with the silent auction at 5 p.m., to be followed by a sit down dinner prepared by Countryside Catering, with the live auction to follow. Music will be provided by the Musical Revue.

Many wonderful items have already been collected for the auction. Some of the items include a Fairmont Hotel trip for two including air fare, as well as gravel, yard and garden equipment, an African safari photo shoot, flowers and shrubs, a Cabo and a Puerta Vallarta vacation, tools, service certificates, wine packages, a sightseeing trips to Children's Museum in Seattle and to Tillicum Village.

Hospice officials are inviting local residents to join them this coming Saturday for a fun event. Tickets to the Aug. 2 fundraiser can be accessed by calling 509-837-176. Tickets are priced at $40 for individuals, $75 for couples and $300 for a friendship table, which seats eight.

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