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Diplomats connect with Maryland hospice to advance awareness

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Diplomats connect with Maryland hospice to advance awareness
Guests attend "Glow: More Than a Runway" at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase to benefit Hospice of the Chesapeake (Photo by Angelique Gingras).

On Oct. 8, Maryland’s Hospice of the Chesapeake and Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase partnered to host “Glow: More Than a Runway” to commemorate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. The event raised $230,000 to support the organization’s local care centers, and for Brits-Hartbeespoort Hospice just outside Pretoria, South Africa.

Four Washington-based ambassadors served on the committee for this event: Britain’s Karen Pierce, Jamaica’s Audrey Marks, Saudi Arabia’s Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, and South Africa’s Nomaindiya Mfeketo.

The event marked Hospice of the Chesapeake’s first partnership with the diplomatic community to advance awareness of loss and grief.

“We serve in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Charles, and Calvert counties, so this is really our first opportunity in DC and reaching out for World Health and Palliative Care Day.” said Hospice of the Chesapeake CEO Michael Brady. “We figured the best way to do this was with our sister hospice in South Africa and bring in other ambassadors to spread the message of providing care and services.”

Hospice of the Chesapeake has cared for more than 50,000 patients since its founding 43 years ago, making it Maryland’s largest agency specializing in care for terminally ill patients. Brits-Hartbeespoort Hospice, founded in 2000, serves a population decimated by HIV/AIDS. The two organizations partnered in 2003 to further their mission of caring for terminally ill patients.

South Africa’s Nomaindiya Mfeketo and the embassy’s health attaché, Dr. Gail Andrews, support Hospice of the Chesapeake on Oct. 8 (Photo by Angelique Gingras).

Mfeketo said she had worked with palliative care centers as a government official in the past, so it was natural for her to partner with the local nonprofit upon arriving in Washington.

“We wish we could have [hospice] in each and every community,” she said. “I am going back to South Africa in 2024. I’m confident that not only myself but lots of other people have an interest to assist this organization.”

The event opened with a cocktail reception, followed by a show highlighting fall 2022 fashion trends by international designers on the Saks Fifth Avenue runway. Guests then dined in the store’s shoe department, which had been redecorated to include a stage, tables, and an open bar.

“We wanted to entertain the guests and bring a sense of normalcy and fun to a charity that cares, and celebrate life with something fun in fashion,” said the store’s general manager, Marguerite Steege.

The event ended with a silent auction to raise money for both Hospice of the Chesapeake and Brits Hospice. Saks Fifth Avenue also donated 10% of the sales of Hueb jewelry from the event.

“In some countries, hospice and palliative care doesn’t exist, and even acceptance within America is limited, so it’s important for us to continuing to have the message out there and educating people,” said Brady. “When people think of hospice care, everyone thinks of the patient, but it’s more than that. It’s really about what hospice can do for the family when someone is struggling, and that’s what we intend to do.”

Angelique Gingras

Angelique Gingras is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland where she studies Journalism and British History. Angel started at The Washington Diplomat as an editorial intern in August 2021 and was promoted to Associate Editor in March 2023.