17th Annual Soup for the Soul: A Recipe for Caring


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 http://www.centurahealthathome.org/chh/our-specialties/porter-hospice/.

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: https://www.centurahealthathome.org/chh/our-specialties/the-butterfly-program/.

Denver Hospice Hosts Best-selling Author Mitch Albom


You come into this world wanting to be held and loved, and you leave this world the same way, mused Mitch Albom, best selling author and guest speaker at The Denver Hospice Mask Project luncheon on Tuesday. There’s a good reason why he’s a best selling author–because his message resonates.

Attendees listened intently to Albom recounting the lessons he learned from his friend and teacher Morrie Schwartz, who was the subject of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” a book that has become a world-wide icon of life (and death) lessons. The message was in tandem with the mission of The Denver Hospice, because at the end of our time on earth, material possessions mean next to nothing in the scheme of things. Love, and giving rather than taking, carves the path to being remembered, said Albom. As proof, he said, just look at the messages that the victims of 9-11 texted and left before they perished.

Albom is author of six consecutive number one New York Times bestsellers-including “Tuesdays with Morrie,” the bestselling memoir of all time. A columnist for The Detroit free Press since 1985 and a panelist on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters, Albom has been named the #1 Sports Columnist in the Nation by The Associated Press Sports Editors 13 times.

Albom was a very fitting speaker to remind people why the Mask Project should be supported–to benefit the very important mission of The Denver Hospice. They serve over 800 patients and families every day, and it is important that their stories are honored and their legacies remembered.

Bidding is now open through October 9 for the 2016 masks. Visit www.themaskproject.org for more information and see the mask gallery at Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

Soup for the Soul Benefits Hospice Programs


Now in its 16th year, Soup for the Soul brings Denver’s finest chefs together for one delicious evening to support Porter Hospice and The Butterfly Program. Guests sampled scrumptious creations of gourmet spring soups and appetizers topped-off with a yummy assortment of desserts.

The evening wasn’t just about good eating. Soup for the Soul is a fund-raiser for Porter Hospice Foundation and the Butterfly Program. Since 1986, Porter Hospice has provided faith-based, full-service hospice care for patients facing the end of life. The services made possible through charitable donations are developed on need rather than the ability to pay.

The Butterfly Program for children is designed to give support to children and their families facing serious illness.

As guests sat back to count up the calories eaten, Murphy Huston from KOSI began the auction bidding. Guests bid on original art works, art glass from Pismo, vacation packages, sports memorabilia, spa & golf packages, baskets of wine, work out bags and clothes and an exotic vacation at the Mahekal Beach Resort.

The participating restaurants gave generously of their time and best vittles. No one left the Sheraton hungry.

For more information and donations to the Porter Hospice Foundation / Butterfly Program please contact the foundation at 7995 E. Prentice Avenue, Ste. 204, Greenwood Village, 80111. Phone: 303-715-7600.

All proceeds from Soup for the Soul support hospice patients and their families as they are nearing the end of life’s journey. Additional funds raised during the Paddle Raiser portion of the auction supports The Butterfly Program, which provides compassionate, pediatric palliative care and support to children and their families who are facing a life-limiting illness.




Mount Evans "Red Carpet Spectacular" 29th Annual Gala


Despite 18 degree temps and slippery roads, generous donors and guests braved furious snow flurries to reach Mount Vernon Country Club in Golden featuring the “Red Carpet Spectacular!” –this year’s Gala fundraiser in support of Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice.

Four giant Hollywood-style search lights drew visitors up the mountain for the 29th Annual Gala to the country club ballroom where several patrons dressed as Oscar winners and iconic movie characters ranging from Mickey Mouse and Marilyn Monroe to Forest Gump and Randle McMurphy attended the cocktail reception.

As Executive Director of Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice Kathy Engel reminded donors that Mount Evans has been named a Top 100 Home Health Care Agency by the National Research Corporation (NRC) in partnership with DecisionHealth. Board President Janine Guillen, an attorney with Davis Schilken, P.C, thanked sponsors and nearly 300 guests for their continued support.

The dinner, auction and dance with music from Tunisia all provided thanks to two dozen generous sponsors including this year’s premier sponsors: New West Physicians and The Ponzio Family. The actual stars included nearly 60 general event volunteers, and dozens of volunteers for the Benefit, Decorations, Auction, and Auction Setup committees. Five specialty packages were presented as part of the live auction. Mimi Nelson, Chef and Owner of In Good Taste Catering, donated a Catered Dinner for 10; James King donated a Telluride Getaway; the Family of Stanley Kresge donated a trip to Bahias de Huatulco, Mexico; African Eyes Travel donated a South African Safari package; Peter Clampett donated a Caribbean Cruise.

Honored Patrons this year included: Gary and Jackie Antweiler, Marvin and Dee Geisness, Robert and Karin Gibbs, Janine Guillen and Tim DeGeorge, John Haile, Marilyn Herrs, Horizon Foods, Ann and Les Johnson, Mary Jane Loevlie, Ceci Nowack, John Patterson, Nancy and Rich Reynolds, Betsy and Warren Rose, Harriet Sear, Ron and Sandy Sherbert, Joan and Jerry Shrimpton.

Supporting Board President Janine Guillen are members of the Mount Evans Board: President-Elect Dale Lovin, Deborah Grossman, Jane Bruce, Andy Ades, Laura Belsten, Greg Dobbs, Marvin Geisness, Robert Gibbs, David Graham, Brian Himmelman, Mary Jane Loevlie, Tara May, Brent Pickett, Barb Scripps, Ron Sherbert, Doug Spencer, Ed Steinbrecher, Judy Tersteeg, John Witwer.

Donations to Mount Evans help the organization care for underinsured or uninsured patients and support numerous community services including grief counseling, transportation for patients to medical appointments, respite care for family caregivers, and Camp Comfort, a bereavement camp for children. Besides the annual February Gala, Mount Evans participates in several smaller events year-round. The next big summer fundraiser is the 33rd Annual Freedom Run 5K to be held Saturday, July 4, 2015 in Evergreen. For more information visit: www.mountevans.org




Soup for the Soul

A cold, snowy day calls for comfort food and guests at the 15th annual Soup for the Soul found plenty. The more than 800 attendees – a record number for the event – dined on a decadent array of delicious warm soups. Ladle after ladle brought something different and divine, from thick broccoli cheddar by Panera Bread to hearty beef and bison red chili by 15|Fifty at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel to Cantonese Medicine Broth by The Squeaky Bean to Foraged Mushroom bisque with a black winter truffle creama by Barolo Grill. Every restaurant offered an accompanying appetizer such as Moroccan stuffed mussels by Fuel Café or peanut jalepeno bacon crisps by Dazzle Jazz Restaurant and Lounge to short rib, mashed potatoes and crispy onions by LoHi Steakbar. There’s no quota to the number of helpings. For many, it’s a staple gathering.

“We have people saying, ‘I will never miss this event.’ It’s fun, special,” shared Centura Health and Home Senior Vice President, Clinical Transformation Erin Denholm.  Along with a league of restaurants, 45 corporations step up to support the cause and 60 volunteers come out to help make the evening a smooth success. In terms of planning, 30 people devote nine months to putting all the pieces in place. A big shout out was given to Chris Agnew, Jeannie Bennington and Holly Stabler who have been faithfully involved since day one.

This year funds raised will support The Butterfly Program, which was also celebrating its 15th year of service. The Butterfly Program, sponsored by Porter Hospice and Children’s Hospital Colorado, fills an important and relatively empty niche in the Denver metropolitan community. This nationally recognized program serves families with children who have been diagnosed with a serious illness. The Butterfly Program offers pediatric palliative and comfort care, either at home or in the hospital.

The Soup for the Soul Award of Courage began 10 years ago to recognize strength in the face of adversity. This year’s award honored The Davis Family who have handled themselves with grace and dignity while also inspiring others along the way. In 2013, Claire Davis, a senior at Arapahoe High School was shot by a fellow student. Although her family suffered an incredible loss, they have chosen to love in Claire’s legacy as Claire did by reaching out to the shooter that day. They live out their motto: “Kindness and love can chance the world.”

“Our lives have purpose,” shared Claire’s mother Desiree Davis, as she accepted the award. “We are here to feed the souls of one another. We can choose to do that with love or ignore the needs of others. We all can make a difference for others if we choose to give compassionate support, forgiveness and love.”

Before dining, guests are encouraged to go shopping. The event showcased more than 200 auction items, featuring original artwork, sports and spa options, and intriguing travel.

“I can’t decide,” gleefully shared one guest as she paused to ponder where to put her bid. “There are so many great choices.”

A jovial Solitaire crew once again came to the party with a mouthwatering signature hors d’oeuvre: cherry smoked sturgeon on potato bilini with horseradish, shaved beets and Tobico caviar. More delicious Solitaire creations can be found in late March when the restaurant will open its doors in the Highlands. In addition, SmithandTruslow.com gave each guest with an original spice blend, sea salt or organic spice.

Soup is simply special. It’s what we give to others when they are sick to help them feel better. It’s what warms us when we are feeling low. And, in this case, it’s what unites a community for a very worthwhile cause. As Louis P. DeGoy wrote: Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. There is nothing like a plate or a bowl of hot soup, it’s wisp of aromatic steam making the nostrils quiver with anticipation, to dispel the depressing effects of a grueling day at the office or the shop, rain or snow in the streets, or bad news in the papers. Next year, put away your can of Campbell’s and taste the delights of Denver’s soup-spectacular restaurants. You will leave feeling warming fed.

The Denver Hospice kicks off 2014 Mask Project


Even if you have read the book Lone Survivor or have seen the movie, nothing could have prepared you for the speech given by retired Navy SEAL Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell.

Luttrell, in his riveting keynote remarks for the inaugural Mask Project luncheon for The Denver Hospice, took the audience through his life experiences: first as a 14-year-old who was talked into training to be a SEAL by his twin brother, all the way through the hellacious mission he endured in Operation Red Wings, depicted in the book and movie.

Luttrell talked from the heart, with humor and honesty, as he told attendees about “Billy,” the trainer in Texas who pushed the boys past their limits even then. He talked about the grueling training that men go through to become a SEAL: “They find out what it is that you are afraid of and make you tackle it head on–it makes you a different person.” He did things like dive in dark waters for almost 11 hours (“I fell asleep twice underwater–that was quite an experience,” he quipped.)

Parents of his lost SEAL teammates, Donna and Corky Axelson and Cindy Dietz-Marsh and Danny Dietz Sr. listened in the audience about the horrors their sons, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson and Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz Jr., (along with Lt Michael Murphy) endured on that fateful 2005 mission. Luttrell told the story in graphic detail, illustrating why the book at first was “classified” and the Navy did not wish it released. Those four men acted with superhuman dedication and force, fighting for their lives, and sadly, three of them lost that battle. Luttrell told the audience, “People ask me how I can tell this story. Well, I can tell it because, through me, the memory of my lost teammates will not die.”

The luncheon kicked off The Denver Hospice’s biennial, month-long Mask Project Exhibit at Cherry Creek Shopping Center. The Mask Project was founded in 1998 to capture the imagination of Coloradans with a unique fundraiser. The art auction features custom created masks by celebrities, sports figures, politicians, artists, and recognized members of the community.

Since its inception, The Mask Project has generated $4.5 million in support for hospice and palliative care for The Denver Hospice. Take a look at the Faces of The Denver Hospice on their website for a poignant glimpse into what they do. The 500 masks gallery will be available for viewing at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center from September 8 to October 5, 2014. Over 1 million people are expected to view the gallery. The masks will be available for purchase through an on-line auction. For details, please visit www.themaskproject.org.


Mt Evans Hospice hosts Under a Summer Moon


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There’s nothing like the peacefulness and tranquility of a summer moon, and so it was fitting that the Mt. Evans Hospice summer fundraiser was themed as such.

The hospice team provides compassionate and experienced care during challenging times, and nothing can replace the comfort and tranquility that they bring when going through the last days with a loved one.

It was a beautiful summer night at the Evergreen Lake House as supporters and guests gathered for a scrumptious meal and a toast to those loved. Chefs made a five-course meal at each table of ten, paired with excellent wines and camaraderie, with dancing under the August moon providing a memorable finale.

Mount Evans was one of the first hospice organizations in Colorado and served 15 patients in its first year in 1980. They now have special programs such as Camp Comfort, support groups and Mountain Journey.

For more information. For copies of photographs of this evening, contact Annie Coppock Photography.