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Remembering Our Humble Beginnings

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Fall 2023 - Humble Beginnings

The calm, quiet neighborhoods were becoming the home to space oriented workers. Schools were seeing growth, with children moving in from all over the country. The “fast food’ culture was taking hold everywhere in North Brevard. There were very few, if any, home computers, no real internet, no wealth of family physicians, oncologists, nurses, or large hospitals, and no cell phones.

That was the world into which our Founder, Emilie Sasko, RN was attempting to introduce a new form of patient care – hospice in-home care for those in need of support for what was to be for many the last of life’s journeys. An ancient form of caring for each other that was well known across Europe, it had only recently become a focus for forward-thinking medical professionals in the United States.

By 1977 Emilie had managed to gather together enough medical and nursing professionals and ‘just plain folk’ with kind hearts and a willingness to serve as unpaid volunteers to begin the task. And so, the Hospice of St. Francis began. The program was not without its critics amongst the medical community, but eventually the work of the Hospice volunteers, both here in Brevard and across the country, began to be noticed, as were their successes. And then, in the early 1990’s, the Federal Government saw the benefits of hospice care and incorporated it into the Medicare program. With great foresight, the Hospice Board of Directors voted to seek approval as a Medicare provider for hospice care. And this is where I entered service with Hospice of St. Francis. Privileged to be its first Executive Director, I took the reins with a census of 14 patients, all located in Titusville, only one computer which was reserved for doing Medicare billing and the hospice payroll, 4 registered nurses, 2 part-time LPNs, 3 fulltime and 2 part-time CNA’s, 1 community physician that served as Medical Director for a small monthly stipend, 2 CB radios (the kind used by long distance truckers to communicate), loads of volunteers including our entire board of directors. The crowning touch was being housed in what had been a small, 1 bedroom home with no inside stairs and outside stairs that had no sheltering roof but had been donated to help our cause. With that, hospice began in earnest.

And here I am, 30 years later, still serving as a Volunteer. St. Francis Reflections has come a long way in 45 years! ~Cheryl Parker

 Reflections of Life Articles: Fall 2023

DASH to Celebrate Veterans Day 2023

What could be better than enjoying sunshine and fresh air with your family and friends in a beautiful park while honoring local Veterans? At 7:30 am on November 11, 2023, The DASH in Life 5K will kick-off a full day of Veterans Day activities at Brevard Veterans Memorial Park. This idyllic course is flat, scenic, …

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Life Changing Gift of Dignity

Meet Brodie and Beau, brothers who both live with a disease that deteriorates their muscles to the point that they are unable to hold themselves up in a chair. Although their minds are active and their attitudes are bright, they are physically challenged and unable vocalize their needs. Their devoted mother, Melanie Armistead, relies heavily …

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Serving Brevard for 45 years

What began as a dream of helping neighbors almost fifty years ago is turning 45 this year. Emilie Sasko was a nurse, volunteer, mother of 12 and a dreamer. She had a dream that she was being called to create a hospice, and supported by her deep faith, family and friends, founded the second hospice …

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When Angels Get Their WINGS

Wonderful. Inspiring. Notable. Gracious. Service. These words are frequently used to describe our staff at St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care. We treasure these words in our hearts. Another phrase that we often hear from patients and families is, “You are our Angels.” “You are our Angels” inspired the WINGS Recognition Program. WINGS was created to …

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Memorial Day to Remember

By: Chandler Langevin, Veteran Services Coordinator Memorial Day is a very sacred time for staff and volunteers at St. Francis Reflections. As part of our ongoing commitment to Veterans, we traveled throughout Brevard County to render honors to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Here are some of my highlights from the …

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We LOVE our Volunteers

Our volunteers are a diverse array of caring individuals including working professionals, retirees, stay-at-home parents, students, and people who are exploring new careers and building new skill sets. Those who are interested in volunteering must be dependable, friendly and compassionate. It is not necessary to have medical or hospice experience. Each volunteer is asked to …

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The Staircase

Michael Brian Horton May 30, 2016 Last night I had myself a dreamI still can see it nowA staircase stood before meSpiraling up into the cloudsIts wood was worn and weatheredBut had stood the tests of timeAnd I came upon a young man thereAs I began to climbHis uniform colonialHis tri cornered hat pulled downHe …

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