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Woman runs so others will receive same hospice care as her mother

By Camille Doty
Nov. 5, 2011 at 6:05 a.m.
Updated Nov. 6, 2011 at 5:06 a.m.

The first set of runners cross the starting line as they take off on the 5K and 10K runs for the Living in the Light annual run to support The Hospice of South Texas on Saturday, at Riverside Park.

LIST OF WINNERS:

Men's Overall

1st place - Sammy Kiglapat

2nd place - Stephen Tanar

3rd place - Gibbs Jaughn

Masters: Michael Harris

Women's Overall

1st place - Judy Kimuge

2nd place - Kelly Omness

3rd place - Denise Tomanek

Masters: Kathy Manning

Kenda Holub said losing her mother last month wasn't easy, but Hospice of South Texas made Nelda Green's last days enjoyable.

"They (the hospice center) are my angels," Holub said.

Dr. Ty Meyer helped the family to deal with Green's lung cancer.

"You can live each day you have left with dignity," he said.

Holub said the center went above and beyond for her ill mother. "They were wonderful to the last minute," she said.

On Saturday, the mother of three participated in the Living in the Light annual run at Riverside Park to help raise money so other families are able to receive the same positive experience.

About 400 people from the Crossroads, Houston, San Antonio, and New Mexico competed in the 5K, 10K or children's fun race.

Hilary Lucas, director of communications, said this was the sixth year for the fundraiser and the run helps bring the community together to create awareness for end-of-life care. The run also provides financial support to those in need of hospice services.

Lucas said Hospice of South Texas has been in the community for more than 25 years, and it's important to help those in need.

"We provide the highest quality of care regardless of their ability to pay," she said.

The sun began to rise as the races commenced. Some runners listened to music through their headphones. Others had the cheers of Catherine Heath, who waited on the sidelines.

"It's just that boost - that gives them joy," she said.

Nurse Beth Uszynski helped give patient Green some happiness in her final days.

She described the 72-year-old as a spitfire in a positive way, who loved fruit and ice cream. When she visited Green's room, she would find her in the sacred recliner. "She (Green) was one-of-a-kind and awesome," said Uszynski.

Although Green had lost her appetite for a lot of food, Uszynski and other staff members kept her full with laughter.

One day Green asked the hospice center for broiled shrimp, and the next day they fulfilled her request - with cocktail sauce.

At first, Green, a former waitress, didn't want anyone to serve her. But by the time she died, the hospice center, gave her manicures and pedicures.

Holub said her mother eventually transferred to a nursing home because she needed 24-hour assistance. The hospice employees still came to visit her and later attended her funeral.

It's been hard on Green's middle daughter, Holub. Members of the hospice center call her to see how she is doing. Holub said it is nice to have support and to embrace the employees as family members.

Holub's family set up a fund for hospice in Green's honor. "I will be an advocate for hospice because when I need it, I want it to be there," she said.

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