A question was raised back in spring 2012 as to whether the greater Canandaigua community could substantiate a comfort care home for those approaching end-of-life.
Ontario-Yates Hospice Chaplain Rev. Max Bishop started a community conversation to address that important subject. The meeting at Wood Library was well attended and a group was formed to move the effort forward.
The commitment to oversee and propel this community project was governed by a board of eleven members. Application for non-profit 501(c)3 designation was made, lessons were learned from other comfort care homes throughout the region and the mission to care for terminal residents with a hospice philosophy was gaining clarity, spirit and strength.
By late spring 2013, the time had come to search for an ideal property. Houses in the lakeside community as well as others in town were being considered. Upon entering the home on the hill at 5160 Parrish Street Ext., it was clear that this was THE ONE! However, a significant problem remained: no substantial financial base to accomplish the mission.
This did not deter Mary Brady. She learned about an international antique tractor auction, with hundreds of tractors and enthusiasts coming from around the world, which was forthcoming in September, just down the hill at the Erdle Farm. Mary made it her mission to meet Jim and Anne Erdle weeks before the auction took place. She explained the concept of private two-bed comfort care homes, the hospice philosophy of care, and the essence of this community project. Gratefully, Mary was persuasive, clearly devoted and most convincing!
Simultaneously, the committee started fundraising efforts, delivering presentations, increasing awareness of their mission. Prospect of such a home, truly needed in this community, was nurtured with kindness and prayer by Anne and Jim and the current homeowner who truly believed in the meaning of the home.
Following Jim’s very successful auction and subsequent conversations with Mary, a check from the Erdle’s was gifted to the committee in April 2014 to purchase the home on Parrish Street Extension.
The Canandaigua Comfort Care Home, Inc., was granted non-profit designation and became a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization later that year. CCIA (Canandaigua Churches in Action) was very supportive during this essential phase. Many donations, large and small, propelled the effort forward.
September 2014 was pivotal as two full-time staff, Suzanne Underhill, RN, and Mary Kay Naioti were fully engaged and renovations to transform the house into our home were underway. Primarily through the efforts of steadfast volunteers and contractors donating expertise, materials, and labor, significant interior and exterior changes prepared the home. Concurrent to the renovations, the call to the community was resounding in search of volunteers to serve 240 hands-on care shifts per month and many caring friends to financially support our vision. The efforts were extensive as were the rewards. It all came to be, as the doors opened to the first resident in July 2016.
Atop the hill, full of natural light and positive energy, our chosen name, LIGHT HILL was most fitting for the mission it was meant to serve.
More than a house, this home is filled with a dedicated family of more than 120 hands-on care volunteers, the true heart of the home. Having completed a 21-hour comprehensive end-of-life care training, they bless this home with caring hearts, compassion and a hospice philosophy to serve our terminal residents and their loved ones.
There are numerous others who contribute time, talent and financial blessings, all of whom bring life to the operation of our home.
We are grateful.
We continue to see “light through the trees and hope through the shadows.”