The Upper Chesapeake Hospice Regatta is its primary fundraising event for Senator Bob Hooper House, supporting its services for terminal patients and their loved ones in Harford County, MD, near Baltimore.
Bob Hooper House: Bringing Hospice Awareness to Our Regatta
“It’s become an uncanny fundraising event, large and yet intimate,” says Beverly Dean-Crabtree, the House’s executive director. The regatta, held for the 15th time in June 2014, helped to pay for the House’s construction and now helps sustain operations. Net proceeds exceed $100,000 a year.
“This has become a wonderful event,” said Betty Caffo, a hospice volunteer whose husband, Al, is a past commodore of Havre de Grace Yacht Club. The club’s participation “seems a natural because the event is held in Havre de Grace and sailing is integral to its success.”
Senator Bob Hooper House is licensed as an assisted living community specializing in hospice care. Described as “a place of peace and serenity for those in the final stages of life,” the House can accommodate up to eight patients in private rooms. It also features a community kitchen, living room and dining room, plus a children’s playroom. Occupancy exceeds 90 percent.
In its assisted living capacity, the House posts a $225 daily rate for room and board. Staff won’t turn patients away if they can’t afford that rate, so they accept payment on a sliding scale that goes to $50 a day. The regatta, along with memorial contributions, covers the gap between revenue and expense.
Although the regatta has long been successful in raising funds, Dean-Crabtree grew concerned that sailors, party guests and other supporters weren’t always aware of the House’s mission. After attending the Alliance’s June 2012 webinar on Remembrance Rituals, she urged the local planning committee to incorporate memorial activities into the Havre de Grace event.
“We used ideas we heard about in the seminar, to look for ways to involve patients’ families and educate sailors about our mission,” she said.
The memorial component is Betty Caffo’s favorite part of the regatta. “We have a Memorial Parade of Sails just before the race,” she said. “Families purchase a burgee personalized with their loved one’s name, and each boat flies at least one burgee.
“We hang the burgees at the party for all to see, and families take burgees home. It is very moving,” Caffo added.
Regatta committee members are active all year long, looking for ways to improve the event and raise more money for the House, according to Dean-Crabtree. The regatta “goes to the heart of what we do — we support the community, the community supports us.”
Adds Betty Caffo, “the staff of the Hospice House are among the most compassionate people I have ever met. I know the services the provide for people at the end of their lives are essential.”