Two-time stroke survivor, award-winning author and national hospice expert, recognized for her dedication to serving terminally ill patients and their families.
Online PR News – 31-October-2018 – Costa Mesa, Calif., Oct. 29, 2018 – Michelle Wulfestieg, Founder and Executive Director of the Southern California Hospice Foundation (SCHF), the leading nonprofit for non-medical hospice care, will be honored with the National Philanthropy Day® Outstanding Founders Award on Nov. 15, by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Orange County (AFP-OC). The AFP awards program honors innovators in philanthropy, and places Wulfestieg in good company with past winners that include Donald Bren, Bruno Serato and the Segerstrom Family.
"Serving the dying has been one of the greatest privileges of my life," says Wulfestieg. "It has taught me the importance of making each moment count and to truly value the people around you."
To date, SCHF has served more than 2,500 terminally ill children and adults. Most often, patients seek help with basic needs, such as groceries and utility bills. But for Wulfestieg, a two-time stroke survivor herself, no request is too large. She has reconnected distant family members, hosted birthday parties and a wedding for patients, and granted spectacular final wishes, like meeting favorite celebrities. Oprah Winfrey, Harrison Ford, and the Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team are only a few of the celebrities that have collaborated with Wulfestieg to make her patients' dreams come true. Recently, she initiated a campaign to build Orange County's first Omega home, called the Heavenly Home Project, which will serve as a live-in residential care facility for those at the end-of-life regardless of their ability to pay.
"The terminally ill in our community face incredible challenges. These are our families, coworkers, veterans and other professionals, our immigrants and our homeless. They are our neighbors, and we have an incredible opportunity to help support them. Wulfestieg has been so successful in leading SCHF because she values purpose. Purpose is empowering. It defines us. Diagnosis does not," says Michael Uranga, Board President of SCHF.
Wulfestieg chronicles her personal journey in her award-winning autobiography, typed with one hand, "All We Have Is Today: a Story of Discovering Purpose." The hospice expert has also collaborated with Showtime to produce a documentary series "Time of Death," which offered an intimate look at hospice patients' final days and how they and their families cope.
Wulfestieg will accept her award at the 33rd annual National Philanthropy Day® Awards Luncheon, which will be held at City National Grove of Anaheim on Thursday, Nov. 15. Attendees will include more than 900 distinguished community philanthropists, influential business leaders, supporters and media.
About The Southern California Hospice Foundation
The Southern California Hospice Foundation was established in 2002 to promote awareness of palliative care options for terminally ill children and adults. The Foundation helps to enhance the well-being of patients nearing end-of-life, with needs that lie outside of the hospice benefit, such as food, transportation, utility bills and granting final wishes. Generous donations and compassionate efforts support programs uniquely focused on improving quality of life. For more information, please visit www.socalhospicefoundation.org.