Like a favorite recipe, each year Soup for the Soul organizers add a dash and a dollop to cook up a new-and-improved version of its annual warm-and-wonderful event. In its 17th year, soup-focused comfort food in the hands of innovative chefs created a myriad of culinary delights for guests at Porter Hospice Foundation’s annual fundraiser. The result: Guests and those involved in very personal, emotional, life-and-death situations were able to support Porter Hospice programs and services during a delightful, uplifting evening.

Johnny Ballen, of The Squeaky Bean (left), greets Tom Martino.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, nearly 600 Porter Hospice supporters landed at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum for an event that began with cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres and a comprehensive silent auction. Guests had the opportunity to climb up and sit in an open jet cockpit, as harpist Barbara Lepke-Sims entertained throughout the lively reception. Polite Jazz Quartet took over during the dinner hour, as partygoers strolled among the grab-and-go food stations that lined the area. If people thought they would dine only on standard fare, instead they were treated to delicious soups and appetizers with intriguing twists, along with an assortment of deliciously crafted breads and desserts. One smiling diner was overheard saying, “I’m full of comfort food.”

A big smile from this Mercantile chef

The evening’s program focused on the programs and services of Porter Hospice and The Butterfly Program, emceed by noted food blogger and cookbook author Lee Roper. Morre Dean, CEO of South Denver Operating Group and Porter Adventist hospital and Nancy Stokes, Home Health and Hospice vice president spoke to the crowd before a video presentation. Shellylynne Jaynes-Heideman, senior clinical manager of Porter Hospice Residence; Stephanie Ortiz-Grabe, executive director of Clinical & Operational Services, Home Health and Hospice; and Katie Kilbane, clinical supervisor at Porter Hospice presented the Recognition Award to the hard-working Soup for the Soul committee. Karin Dolph, clinical manager of The Butterfly Program, and Karen Aalund, development officer at Porter Hospice Foundation, introduced the Appreciation Award that went to Mountain Range High School/DECA students. The evening concluded with remarks from Christopher Carey, president of the Rocky Mountain Adventist Healthcare Foundation.

Proceeds from this year’s event support hospice patients who are nearing the end of life’s journey, and children and their families who are facing a serious illness. Thousands of patients and their families have been supported by the compassionate, expert care of Porter Hospice and The Butterfly Program.

The Healing Arts team (l to r): Barbara Lepke-Sims, Karen Aalund, Heather Dean and Gayle Pottle

Porter Hospice Foundation has provided compassionate, end-of-life care and bereavement services to the Denver-metro community for over 30 years. Hospice care is offered in the patient’s home, hospital, senior living community or the 17-bed residential center, Porter Hospice Residence. Public support has a positive impact on providing end-of-life services for patients and bereavement support to their families. Investing in Porter Hospice Foundation allows enables caregivers to help those with limited or no medical coverage, or are unable to pay for care themselves. For more information, please visit

The Butterfly Program, originally founded by Children’s Hospital Colorado and Porter Hospice of Centura Health at Home, has filled a unique and relatively empty niche in the Denver metropolitan community since 1999. The program was initially designed to provide comprehensive pediatric palliative care, serving children and their families who had been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. Since then, medical science and technology has enhanced the life of children with chronic and terminal diseases. The program, once aimed to help children primarily at the end of life, is now inclusive of children and their families who are contending with serious illnesses.

Children and their families enrolled in The Butterfly Program are able to access supportive services including nursing, social work, chaplaincy and expressive therapy while receiving curative and therapeutic medical interventions aligned with their goals of care. The focus of the program is solely on the quality of life for the child and their families. Members of the program’s interdisciplinary team work with children and their family to identify specific goals in physical, psychiatric/psychological, social, spiritual, cultural, ethical and legal aspects of care. The interdisciplinary team includes the medical director, nurses, social workers, non-denominational chaplains, expressive therapists, bereavement counselors and volunteers. To learn more, please go to: