Get to Know…Joan Leslie and LaTus, Hospice Volunteers

| By Jodi Horton

Editor’s Note: This column features people who keep things running behind the scenes and those who are on the “front lines,” providing care to our patients. All of the Casa employees and volunteers have been asked to answer five questions. The first three emphasize their hospice care work and the last two give you just a little taste of who they are besides a hospice worker or volunteer.

Q: What led you to volunteer for a hospice organization?

A: My dog, LaTus. She is a rescued pit bull mix and although her life before she came to me was terrible, she loves everyone. After lots of training on my part, we started volunteering at TMC, then switched to Peppi’s House (TMC’s inpatient hospice unit) where LaTus found her calling. When I heard about the hospice training through Casa de la Luz Hospice, I signed up. That training has brought a new passion to my life. Two years later LaTus and I visit Kanmar Place (Casa de la Luz’s residential hospice home), Casa’s Inpatient Unit, and Peppi’s House every week.

Q: What are your volunteer responsibilities?

A: My two most important responsibilities are driving LaTus to our visits and holding her leash. We provide a unique hospice experience by entering with smiles on our faces and LaTus’ tail wagging.

Q: In your opinion, what value does hospice bring to healthcare?

A: Loving care and honesty. Hospice professionals understand the dying process and the grieving process of loved ones. We volunteers learn so much from the professionals and the feedback from patients and family members.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

A: Checking things off my bucket list. My last two? Skydiving for my 65th birthday and last year, zip lining.

Q: When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: Like many girls of my generation I wanted to be a wife and mom, and happily, I did just that. I also experienced two great careers and am the grandmother of four and will be a great-grandmother in August.

Two bonus questions!

Q: What is one thing on your bucket list?

A: There are so many. This summer I will check flying in a glider plane off the list. Yes, there is a pattern. I am hoping the cost of space travel will come down to my price range quickly.

Q: If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

A: For years and years I have answered the question with Jimmy  Carter. I learned a lot about caring and diversity from him. Now I would be tempted to say Michelle Obama. I am sure she would be gracious about my upper arms. Of course, they are always covered these days.

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