The Clean Plate Kitchen Donates to Support Hunterdon Hospice
Pictured left to right: Amy Tiedemann, PhD, Director of Development, Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation, Janet McCulloch, LCSW, Hunterdon Hospice Social Worker, accept a check to Hunterdon Hospice from the owners of The Clean Plate Kitchen in Clinton, Anthony and Nicole Piazza with their daughters, Zinnia, age 2 and Talulla, 8 months.
In December, The Clean Plate Kitchen located in historic downtown Clinton teamed up with Serve Kindness for a special fundraiser, in memory of the Clean Plate co-founder, Nicole Piazza’s mother, Mary Baker. Mary was a volunteer at the Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center for many years and passed away two years ago under the peaceful care of Hunterdon Hospice. The special fundraiser dinner was held on December 6, 2018 which would have been Mary’s 68th birthday. The event raised $3,500 to support Hunterdon Hospice.
“Hunterdon Hospice had the most impactful role in my mother’s care and passing, as well as supporting my family. I passionately feel that it’s imperative that we can start the conversation about death and dying to help more people to experience a peaceful passing and for families to be supported through the transition. Most people are afraid to think or talk about death, they don’t want to hear the word Hospice, but maybe if we could get more comfortable with talking about it when we are well, we can hear what the doctors and nurses are saying when it is time for the discussion about Hospice for ourselves and loved ones,” stated Mrs. Piazza. Mrs. Piazza went on to say, “On my mother’s last stay at the hospital, my family was adamant that she would be coming right home. We were just getting her blood work under control and we would be able to get her home and work on getting her stronger, still believing that the medication was going to work and we needed to focus on rehab. This hospital stay continued much longer than expected and the focus kept changing, but we were grasping at any glimmer of hope, when really we were just barely missing catastrophic landmines. We finally heard the doctor when he met with us to talk about quality of life and Hunterdon Hospice. Hunterdon Hospice handled everything with grace and ease, as soon as we got home, we realized that this was so much better for my mother. I immediately felt sad that we hadn’t brought her home sooner. No loud beeping, no interruptions, she was surrounded by us, her family at home, where we could just be with her in those last 11 days that she was on hospice. We provided her with as much comfort that we possibly could during those last days. We were supported by the hospice nurses and social workers. They helped us understand every part of the process. We felt like we were finally in control and caring for my mother. It was such an intimate experience to care for my mother in those last days. The stress and anxiety of trying to fix everything was released and we were able to just be with her. “
Mary Lentine Baker was a lifelong resident of Hunterdon County. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother and was also dedicated to helping others. She volunteered for Hunterdon Healthcare System for seven years and in 2015 was awarded the prestigious Wescott Award, the highest award given by the hospital. She received this award for her work as a Partner in Healing volunteer at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center. Each week, she would come to visit with cancer patients through the peer support program. She was a two time cancer survivor and gave so many patients and families hope, which can be difficult to find when facing a cancer diagnosis. “It is only fitting that this dinner and benefit was called Serve Kindness because my mother was kind, loving and that spilled over into all who came in contact with her,” explained Mrs. Piazza.
Hunterdon Hospice, operated by Hunterdon Healthcare System, provides physical, spiritual, psychosocial and bereavement support to those with a life threatening illness and their families.
“We had been fighting for so many months, and in the end we did not lose the battle, we made peace. We were able to stop fighting and just love and care for my mother, giving her exactly what she needed. I was with my mom every step of her illness, diagnosis, treatment, back and forth to the hospital, and with her at home. In hindsight, I have no regrets except for one, I wish I could have really heard the doctor in the first discussion, I wish that I could have understood that it was not scary and didn’t mean that we gave up. We chose Hospice because it wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about loving my mom and making the best possible choices that we could. Her death was not scary, it was intimate and loving and I know that she was comfortable and at peace,” said Mrs. Piazza.
To learn more about Hunterdon Hospice call 908-788-6600.
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