Mercy Care creates an artful tribute—the Seasons Tree of Life
End of life care and palliative care for those with serious chronic illnesses can create enormous burdens on family who many times do not know where to turn. For 35 years, Mercy Care, now Lower Cape Fear Hospice Mercy Care, has been providing that help to families regardless of their ability to pay. This is their mission, and as the only not-for-profit hospice and palliative care provider in the region, they offer a range of valuable services led by a dedicated team of physicians, nurses and volunteers.
Mercy Care’s development manager, Carey Dickinson, is charged with helping to find funds to offset the costs of operation and to subsidize fees for those who use the many programs, but are unable to pay. The Seasons Tree of Life, a permanent installation at the Mercy Care office in Myrtle Beach, provides an opportunity to have a loved one’s name hand-stamped on a copper leaf and attached permanently to a large Tree of Life sculpture created by local metal sculptor Robert Sadlemire.
Lower Cape Fear Hospice has four locations: Wilmington, N.C.; Bolivia. N.C.; Whiteville, N.C.; and the location here in Myrtle Beach, off 82nd Parkway.
“At our other locations we have tile displays where family and friends may donate to have a tile as a tribute and remembrance,” said Dickinson. “They can come in and reflect and know that their funds are going to help other families. We wanted to have that kind of opportunity for Horry County at our Myrtle Beach office.
“We commissioned Robert Sadlemire to create the tree,” continued Dickinson. “The individual leaves will be made of hand-stamped copper and then affixed to the tree in a memorial ceremony.”
The opportunity to fill each of the 248 leaf locations comes with a cumulative $1,000 (or larger) donation made in someone’s name, combined from many smaller gifts or one or more larger gifts.
“We have the honor of featuring Josh Weston, a blacksmith from the Charleston area, creating our leaves,” said Dickinson. Weston is featured on The History Channel’s Forged in Fire television series. “We began with our first set of four copper leaves affixed last April.”
Anyone so inclined is welcome to fund a hand-embossed copper leaf in permanent remembrance of and tribute to a loved one. A formal dedication of the Seasons Tree of Life at the Mercy Care office in Myrtle Beach will take place in June 24 at 10 a.m. with the first few donors, the artist, staff, volunteers and families.
With more than 125,000 house calls and some 2 million miles traveled annually by Mercy Care staff, many area families know firsthand about the organization’s outreach and effectiveness.
In addition to hospice and palliative services, all of the Lower Cape Fear Hospice satellites offer grief and bereavement counseling, spiritual care, veterans’ services, and a strong shoulder to lean on in times of need, not unlike a sturdy tree with community roots that run deep.
For more information on the Lower Cape Fear Hospice Mercy Care, go to www.mercyhospice.org.