Hospice Team Helps Fulfill Patient’s Final Dream

When Dianna “Lyn” Belville learned she’d be needing hospice care for the final stages of her battle with cancer, there was no question which hospice program she would use.

“Memorial is my favorite hospital,” Lyn said. “Anytime I need a hospital, I choose Memorial.”

Kelly Ziffra, a licensed social worker with Memorial Home Services Hospice, was assigned to Lyn’s care team. Ziffra often asks new clients what goals and hopes they would like to achieve before they die. Lyn expressed the desire to return to Branson, Mo., a special place to her and her husband of nearly 22 years, Georgie.

“Whenever you go there, you have such a good time,” Lyn said. “We have such good memories from there. We’re country-western people, and we really like the country-western shows.”

Ziffra was familiar with the Dream Foundation, a nonprofit group based in California that helps grant the final wishes of adults with a life-threatening illness. With the help of Lyn’s physician, Dr. Scott Mink of Springfield Clinic, who had to give medical clearance, she facilitated the application process in early October.

This is the first successful dream Ziffra has seen fulfilled in her time with Memorial’s hospice program. The application process can take a few weeks, and some patients pass away before being approved. And because the Dream Foundation is a nonprofit group that depends on donations, not all requests can be fulfilled.

“Dianna was very deserving of this,” Ziffra said. “She’s the sweetest lady.”

On Nov. 3, Ziffra and three members of Genetech, a biotechnology company in California that is a large donor to the Dream Foundation, made a surprise visit to Lyn and Georgie to share the good news that Lyn’s Branson dream was being fulfilled: She, Georgie and Georgie’s sister, Betty, were going to Branson for five days, all expenses paid. They received tickets to three shows, $500 for food and a gift basket full of gift cards, cameras, a photo album and more.

“I could not believe it,” Lyn said. “When that happened, it blew my mind. I just couldn’t believe it. I cried — because so many people don’t get it. I was so lucky. I thank God every day for that.”


Lyn said the trip was so wonderful that she didn’t want to come back.

“I’m still thinking about it,” she said a week following her trip. “Those memories never go away from your heart. I’ll remember if for the rest of my life.”

Lyn’s story is a testament to the meaning of hospice, Ziffra said.

“Hospice is about living life to the fullest. So often people hear the word hospice and think they are ‘giving up.’ But as we can see through Lyn’s experience, choosing hospice means choosing comfort, quality of life and the chance to reach goals and dreams.”

Memorial Home Services recently established its Dreams and Wishes Fund, which will help Memorial hospice patients realize the dreams and wishes they want to fulfill in the time they have left. For more information about the Dreams and Wishes Fund or our hospice program, please call us at 217-788-4663 or 800-582-8667 or email us. And make plans to attend the inaugural Hospice Gala, which will benefit the Dreams and Wishes fund, on March 31 at the Northfield Inn & Suites.