Gateway Hospice Pays It Forward

By Vanessa Orr

Gateway Hospice believes that caring for others is critical during times of crisis, and not only for those with life-limiting illnesses. Though they take special pride in reaching out and serving the many patients who honor them with their needs, Gateway also recognizes that their commitment to serving the community extends to their neighbors.

As a result, in the spirit of giving, Gateway Hospice has made it their passion to ‘Pay It Forward.’ The hospice team has made a commitment throughout the year to pay it forward by adopting families and individuals in the community who are in need and offer their time and resources to help improve people’s lives.

Recently, the Gateway team had the honor of assisting a family in need with the help of John Stanley, owner of the Uncommon Ground Café. The family had experienced much devastation in the past year, including having their home destroyed by the Aliquippa flood which took away many of their personal possessions. The family, which has nine children, is currently living in one bedroom on the second floor of their home until the first floor is renovated and flood repairs are made. The many day-to-day luxuries most people take for granted they do not have. Preparing a meal, adequate clothes, furnishings … all are a challenge for this family and for many others who have lost homes and possessions to area flooding.

The Gateway team prepared a feast for the family, and continued to go above and beyond by conducting a food drive to ensure that their cupboards remained full even after the hospice team was gone. In this way, Gateway’s team of caregivers’ unanimously made a decision to make a difference—and what a difference they continue to make!

After learning that Harihanath Brunstein, one of their volunteers, was having difficulty getting a work visa, Gateway Hospice decided to support her by sponsoring her application. “Hari first came to us as a student of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, where she was helping to make ornaments for our patients,” explained Mary Tobin, general manager, Gateway Hospice. “She asked about what Gateway did, and said that she wanted to help. Since then, she’s been volunteering her time in our medical records office, as well as assisting in all areas of our operation.

“She’s done a tremendous amount for us, and we believe that there are no boundaries to her skills,” added Tobin. “So we decided to begin the initial investigation towards helping her get her work visa, because it was the right thing to do. She’s a part of the Gateway community.”

Brunstein, who worked as a lawyer back in Paraguay, was amazed by the Hospice’s offer. “I almost cried—I’ve been waiting for this chance for years,” she said. “With all that’s involved in the immigration process, many companies don’t want to get involved. But Gateway saw how much I like and respect what I do here, and they were willing to take a chance on me.”

By paying it forward, Gateway Hospice is not only helping people with immediate needs in the community, but is also increasing the number of people who, after receiving help from the Hospice, will pay it forward once again.

If you know an individual or a family who needs support, contact Vanessa Larson or Erica Hubsch at (412) 536-2020. Gateway Hospice challenges you this year and every year to continue in the spirit of giving and look for opportunities to ‘Pay It Forward’ every day.

(412) 536-2020 OR 1-877-878-2244