Dr. Alfred F. Connors, Jr. and Dr. Mildred Lam Establish Endowed Fund for Music and Pet Therapy

Music therapy and pet therapy are among the many special services Hospice of the Western Reserve provides to improve the quality of life for countless patients and their families. Today, the nonprofit agency announced it has received a major gift from the community that will help establish funding continuity for these two programs for years to come.

Through music therapy, a board-certified professional uses music in a clinical way to accomplish goals tailored to each individual. Benefits include reducing pain, providing opportunities for self-expression, encouraging life review and promoting relaxation. Likewise, pet therapy can have a tremendous positive impact on quality of life. It has been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness, lower levels of anxiety and bring soothing companionship to hospice patients.  

Alfred F. Connors, Jr., MD, Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a member of the Emeritus Medical Staff at The MetroHealth System, and Mildred (Mimi) Lam, MD, a member of the Medical Staff at The MetroHealth System, have created the Alfred F. Connors, Jr. and Mildred Lam Endowed Fund for Music Therapy and Pet Therapy. Drs. Connors and Lam have established the fund as a blended gift, including current gifts during their lifetimes and a final gift from their estate.

“Quality of life matters,” Dr. Connors said, describing the impetus for the gift. “These programs provide meaning, joy and healing during a very difficult time. Since costs of these services are not reimbursed by Medicare or commercial insurance, they must rely on philanthropic support.” 

“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Connors and Dr. Lam,” said Laura Rayburn, president of the Hospice of the Western Reserve Foundation. “Their legacy of caring makes it possible for us to continue to enhance the lives of our patients through these impactful programs. Their generosity will touch many lives.”  

Hospice of the Western Reserve (HWR) cared for both of Dr. Connors' parents. As a former board chair and long-time supporter of the nonprofit organization, Dr. Connors will also serve as the inaugural board member of the Hospice of the Western Reserve Foundation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit public charity that will support programs benefiting patients and their families. Funded through donations from families and friends of HWR, the foundation is expected to be operational later in 2021.

“Our goal is to make sure Hospice of the Western Reserve is here for the next 50 years and thereafter so all families can receive the same expert and compassionate care that mine did,” Dr. Connors said. “People should come and meet the remarkable individuals who provide such exceptional hospice care in our community.  I hope others will join me and Mimi in supporting the work of this outstanding organization.”

To learn more about how you can support Hospice of the Western Reserve through a current gift or a gift in your estate plans, contact Holly Selvaggi at 216.255.9066 or hselvaggi@hospicewr.org.

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