The hospice movement has seen significant growth over the years, thanks in part to the efforts of celebrities raising awareness for hospice. The hospice industry, nationally and globally, continues with its tireless efforts in educating the community about this life-affirming service – a concept that eludes most people until the “need” for hospice care presents itself. The power and promise of celebrities sharing their personal experience, or sharing their passion in helping those at the end of life, elevates the awareness of the hospice movement exponentially.
The Duchess of Cambridge (known to many as Kate Middleton) is not a celebrity per se, but her popularity as a Royal has made her a widely known and beloved figure around the world, like a celebrity. Duchess Catherine is lending her support to the hospice movement, as she has chosen East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices as one of four UK charities to receive her royal patronage. This royal show-of-support is significant to charities who are chosen, particularly as charities are vying for the attention of donors, the media, and in raising awareness in general. As reported in the BBC, a staff member noted, “Families who could use our services but were perhaps put off by the word ‘hospice’ are actually getting involved now.” The Duchess of Cambridge is scheduled to make her first international speech at a Malaysian hospice, as she and the Duke of Cambridge visit South-East Asia and the South Pacific this month.
Today Show host, Matt Lauer, continues to lend his show of support to the hospice movement, which stems from his family’s hospice experience. Lauer’s father, Jay Robert Lauer, was cared for by Hospice of Palm Beach County in 1997. Since then, Lauer continues to help raise awareness and monetary support for the program through events such as golf tournaments, galas and through advertisements and video.
In 2011, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) introduced celebrity Torrey DeVitto as their Ambassador. DeVitto is an accomplished actor known for her work in the ABC Family TV series, Pretty Little Liars, the CW TV series The Vampire Diaries, One Tree Hill, the series Beautiful People, Castle and CSI Miami. With an incredibly busy schedule, DeVitto has also served as a hospice volunteer in Glendale, CA. DeVitto contacted NHPCO’s DC offices to see how she could help raise awareness about hospice care, particularly among our young people on a national scale. DeVitto attended NHPCO’s Clinical Conference that was held in San Diego, CA, to participate in its Volunteer Award ceremony. During her visit to San Diego, DeVitto (shown in this photo with her mom, Mary), and NHPCO leadership, also toured the San Diego Hospice campus, which features the only specially licensed “hospice-hospital” in California. According to DeVitto, one key message she would want people to know is, “Being a part of the end of life is just as beautiful as being a part of the beginning of life.”