Happy International Women’s Day! This year’s theme is “Be Bold for Change,” and today, The Washington Home & Community Hospices celebrates a woman who did just that—Dame Cicely Saunders.
Saunders is a pioneer who changed the life and death experience for millions across the globe. No longer did individuals (and their families) have to suffer with uncontrolled physical, spiritual, emotional (or even financial) pain as they lived out their final days. She pushed for a more holistic and comforting approach to caring for dying patients.
In 1967, Saunders established the first hospice, St. Christopher’s, in London. With the opening of St. Christopher’s Hospice, came the dawn of a new “way of life” (at the brink of death) of sorts. She saw a system that was failing us in our most vulnerable days, and she dared to #BeBoldForChange.
Because of Dame Cicely Saunders’ boldness to change that system, you and I, our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and even our children now have access to a supportive team whose sole purpose is to guide us through the end-of-life journey so we’re able to live and die with dignity.
Today, we celebrate this champion—this woman—and the contributions she’s made to not only health care, but also in the lives of those that hospice touches.
We honor her.
Shanté Alerté, MPH