Ruby Red Slippers: A Source of Comfort for Hospice Patients

Patient in Ruby Slippers

A patient in her ruby red slippers explores the Center’s gardens with volunteer, Nicole Kouvaris.

Dorothy famously said, “There’s no place like home,” as she clicked the heels of her ruby red slippers together three times. Those magic slippers had the power to transport her to the place in her mind where she felt the most comfortable and safe – her home. Like those ruby slippers, the staff and volunteers of the Center for Comfort Care and Healing aim to give patients peace of mind in a cozy home away from home. Due to the generosity of a kind donor, ruby red slippers support that goal, empowering patients to feel safe, warm and even a bit glamorous.

A Difficult Diagnosis

Ken Libby’s wife Margo (Margaret) had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that damaged her liver. As she waited hopefully for a liver transplant, she and her family received the devastating news that she also had a form of Lymphoma. As a result, the transplant was called off and she was admitted to the hospital to undergo treatments for her cancer. While there, Margo befriended a fellow patient named Kay. The two would pass each other in the halls and offer words of encouragement and support.

The Need for Hospice Care

As her illness progressed, Kay was transferred to a hospice care facility. Three days later Margo decided to stop all cancer treatments, and was also moved to the nearest hospice facility. Unbeknownst to the two friends, they were in the same facility, in the very same room. Both were elated to see each other as Ken notes, “the bond that had developed between them was something that we could not explain.”

The Reminder of a Beloved Movie

slippersonpatientKen and Margo’s daughter wanted to cheer up her mother with a gift of red-sequined slippers that sparkled when they caught the light. Kay marveled at her friend’s new slippers. Kay’s daughter, Tracy, explained that her mother was a fan of The Wizard of Oz. She especially loved Judy Garland, who played Dorothy. She also admired, like so many women, Dorothy’s dazzling, ruby slippers. Ken assured Kay that she would soon have her very own pair.

A Special Gift

The next day, as promised, Ken placed a pair of soft red slippers on Kay’s feet. Although she had grown very weak, she would look down at her feet, wiggle her toes ever so slightly and smile. “When she had those magic red slippers on her feet, she was home,” Ken shared.

A Legacy of Love

From that moment on, Ken became dedicated to putting smiles on the faces of as many women in hospice care as he could – wives, mothers, daughters, friends. The red slippers he provides to the patients at Regional Hospice and Home Care honor the memory of his beloved wife, Margo, her friend Kay, and all those who recognize that home is a place in the heart that can be accessed with the click of a heel or the wiggle of a sparkly toe.

We are very grateful to Ken Libby for his beautiful and generous gifts! Ken is just another amazing example of how our supporters and volunteers help in unique and heartfelt ways.

Ken can be reached at