Dee Brazil-Dale: A Legacy of Love for Hospice
Dee Brazil-Dale has devoted most of her adult life to being a passionate advocate for hospice care.
She first felt led to volunteer at a small, non-profit hospice in McCall, Idaho, after the sudden loss of her son, Mark Alvarado, in a vehicle accident when he was only 19 years old.
"He was a great outdoors guy and loved backpacking," Dee said. "He got a scholarship to the University of California at Berkley and was studying to become marine biologist. He was an unusual, great kid. Everyone that knew him said he was one of a kind."
Eventually, Dee went to work for the Idaho hospice before moving to Arkansas, where she met Michael Aureli. Together, they became the founders of Arkansas Hospice — with the help of community support, which Dee said is still vital today.
"Back in the day there were a lot of non-profit hospices, but now it seems to be the exception rather than the rule," Dee said. "The true mission of hospice includes a robust volunteer program, an in-depth grief support program, supporting our veterans and special programs for special needs in our community. For Arkansas Hospice to be a robust, viable non-profit, it needs funds from the community to keep those programs going and to enhance them. To leave a legacy to Arkansas Hospice helps ensure that the not-for-profit organization can continue those non-funded and underfunded services that are so important. That's why I leave a legacy."
Dee saw first-hand the impact that Arkansas Hospice makes when the organization cared for both her mother and her husband — and she appreciates the value of what is often called "a hospice heart."
"Taking care of people at the end of their life is a special calling," she said. "When you experience loss, you gain compassion. And I think compassion makes up a big part of having a hospice heart."
During the past 30 years, Dee has shown time and time again that her own heart is truly a hospice one. Her hard work, dedication and compassion has helped countless numbers of Arkansans live better lives.