Tag Archives: reiki

Pam Picard – A Compassionate Healer that Emanates Warmth

When Pam Picard’s son Kyle was 9-years-old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and later Lyme disease.  Drawing on her background in holistic healing, she embarked on a journey to get him the best medical treatment available and tapped into every therapeutic modality possible to bring her son the comfort and relief he deserved.  Kyle remarkably recovered from his cancer and that experience moved Pam to help others.

One way she started to help others was by studying reiki – or energy work – something that many of her friends practiced.  Reiki is a very gentle touch (or no touch) healing modality.  It is extremely calming and relaxing, and can bring a sense of peace throughout the body.  Pam views herself as a “hollow bone” or “vessel” in which she can transmit healing energy through her hands to the recipients to provide them the calm and relief they may need.

Complementary Therapy Volunteers Pam Picard & Kim Schmus

After studying to be a reiki master, Pam had a dream about providing support to patients during surgery. That ultimately led her to Raven Keyes, a member of Dr. Oz’s surgical team, who performs reiki on patients in the operating room.  Feeling like this was a good omen, Pam reached out to Yale-New Haven Hospital and learned that they too had a role for reiki practitioner volunteers in clinical settings.  Once she was accepted to Yale’s volunteer team, she reconnected with Raven and inspired her to coordinate training for Medical Reiki™ practitioners.  Pam completed this specialized training a month later and started putting her skills to use as a Certified Medical Reiki™ Practitioner at Yale New-Haven Hospital, while also working at Salt of the Earth in Woodbury.

In November 2015, Pam was approached by Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s (RHPC) President and CEO Cynthia Roy, who knew about Pam’s volunteer work at Yale-New Haven.  Cynthia encouraged Pam to bring her reiki expertise to Regional Hospice and Palliative Care.

The night that Pam completed her paperwork to become a RHPC Reiki volunteer, she was told by a family physician that her father would need hospice care.  For Pam, this was a clear sign of fate, allowing her to become a family member at RHPC before beginning her work at the Center.  Her father was admitted to Regional Hospice’s Center for Comfort Care and Healing a few days later.

After spending five days at the Center for Comfort Care and Healing, Pam’s father passed gently.  While driving with her mom on their way to the Center that night to say goodbye and wishing he was not in any pain, they saw a beautiful falling star in front of their car.  Pam took this as a sign from her dad that he did not suffer and was at peace. Her father had passed gently and comfortably, just as they had hoped.

After taking time to grieve, Pam began her volunteer work with RHPC providing reiki to patients, their loved ones and staff.  She believes that her experience as a family member of a RHPC patient before volunteering enables her to feel, see and better know how to best meet the needs of Regional Hospice’s patients and families through her special skill set.  Having been in their shoes made her volunteer commitment that much more powerful.  She regards her volunteer work as a passion and loves seeing peace come upon individuals as a result of a reiki treatment.  Pam feels honored that she is able to support them on their journey.

If you’ve been one of the lucky ones to receive reiki from Pam, chances are you’ve also met her friend and “reiki sister” Kim Schmus, LMT.  The pair find great joy in working together, combining their skills in reiki, guided meditation and light touch massage to provide a holistic approach to relaxation, comfort and relief.

Pam is tearful and genuinely moved when recounting memorable stories and experiences she’s shared with hospice patients.  She mentions two special patients who she will never forget, having been with them at their time of death.  She smiles remembering the Alzheimer’s patient that she and Kim worked with for many months. While this woman could not express herself on the outside, through their reiki they could feel her love and peace – and fire – from deep within.  Pam remembers fondly the gift of thanks that one patient gave them in her last few weeks: For all the grace and glory that they enabled their patient to experience.

She says “just to be able to touch so many lives as a RHPC volunteer is incredible.”  We like to think the work Pam does is pretty incredible too.

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Pam is a Regional Hospice and Palliative Care volunteer who provides reiki, light touch massage and guided meditation to patients and family members.  She has volunteered over 125 hours and worked with over 200 people.

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To learn more about Pam Picard, please visit her website at: http://www.reikimedical.com/

Pam Picard is offering a special discounted rate of $50 for any friends of hospice who would like to try a one-hour reiki session.  Please reach out to Pam directly and mention Regional Hospice and Palliative Care to receive this discounted rate.

She is also available to provide reiki at Salt of the Earth on weekends.

If you are interested in learning reiki and taking a Reiki I, 2 or 3 class instructed by Pam and Kim, please visit their website at healinghalls.wordpress.com.

To learn more about Kyle’s story, visit angelightfilms.org and select “The Kyle Show” to view a short documentary about his journey with brain cancer.

Inspired by Pam’s story?  To volunteer as a reiki practitioner, please visit Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s Volunteer Page and fill out an application today!

Edwin Alward and Bob Sweeney

A Wonderful Life for Edwin Alward

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Edwin Alward and Bob Sweeney

Edwin Alward and RHHC Volunteer, Bob Sweeney

Edwin Alward grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. It was there that he met the love of his life, Katherine, with whom he enjoyed 61 beautiful years of marriage.  With a chuckle that beams with pride, Edwin explained how together the couple raised four children who, “are the smartest, best looking children ever born.” Although Edwin admits, “I have a lot of problems – Parkinson’s, diabetes, cancer and a few other things in between,” his steadfast sense-of-humor and infectious love of life make him seem invincible. Still, at 83 years of age Edwin understands that his life is nearing an end, and he embraces the additional joy that hospice care brings to his final days.

A Life of Quality

“I have had a wonderful life. What I have done I will never regret,” Edwin proclaims. A vocal proponent of living a life of quality vs. quantity, Alward has chosen to forgo chemotherapy and other curative measures for treating his melanoma, which returned after a surgery 10 years ago. He understands the challenges of aging after having cared for his beloved Katherine before she passed away from Alzheimer’s disease nearly 3 years ago.

Embracing Life’s Changes

Edwin’s life speaks of an ability to transform change and loss into beauty. He was raised with two brothers, one who died from Leukemia and the other who had gone to West Point. Edwin served in the Air Force for four years, after which he worked at Travelers in marketing for 30 years before he was let go in 1986. He then served as a Financial Consultant for a few years. Upon reading a book that suggested if you lose a job you should try something that you’ve never done before, Edwin took a leap and began working in education.

The Highlight of His Career

Teaching as a substitute at a technical school became the unexpected highlight of Alward’s career. Although he taught at a difficult school where drugs and gangs were prevalent, Edwin embraced his role, dressing up every day, sometimes wearing a boutonniere. He wanted to expose the kids to sophistication and teach them the importance of respect by serving as a disciplinarian. The experience was very rewarding for Edwin who was able to help countless kids over the 9 years he served in that role, even inspiring some to get off of drugs.

An Open Mind and Open Heart

Last year Edwin’s illnesses had him in the hospital and several nursing homes for over 100 days. It was at that point that he was referred to Regional Hospice and Home Care (RHHC). Edwin fully embraced the assistance stating, “I take advantage of all the wonderful services offered to me.” Those services have included visits to the Center for Comfort Care and Healing and in-home Art Therapy with RHHC’s Art Therapist, Briah Luckey. He has also been regularly receiving Reiki and Therapeutic Touch treatments from RHHC volunteer, Jean Handler. Edwin explained, “It really works. There is something between Jean and me – the energy,” further detailing that following the energy treatments he is able to sleep soundly for hours.

New Forever Friends

One hospice service that has been particularly rewarding to Alward is the friendship he has received from his Family Support Volunteer, Bob Sweeney. The feeling is mutual as Bob indicates, “We have a real bond. It’s been great.” When asked what they do during their time together, both men said with an air of mischief in their voices, “We sit and tell each other lies.” Truth is, the two friends banter as though they have known each other for years. They are both quick-witted and well-read with an ability to talk freely on any topic from sports to politics. One of their favorite activities is to sit on a bench in Kent where they “watch the world go by.”

Unexpected Gifts

Katherine Alward

Photos of Katherine Alward

They have met a variety of interesting people from that post including hikers making their way to Maine via the Appalachian Trail. One afternoon they started chatting with a woman who turned out to be a local artist. Edwin mentioned that he had hoped to have a replica of Katherine’s engagement photo created. Much to his surprise his new acquaintance completed the request as a gift – proof not only of the kindness of strangers, but also of Alward’s ability to inspire such acts.

Praise for Hospice

Edwin greatly appreciates the care he’s received from Regional Hospice stating, “I have nothing but praise. I have a fond feeling for everyone I have been associated with,” further emphasizing, “and I have never been more pleased to be associated with an organization.” When asked what he would tell anyone considering hospice care, he said, “Anyone who has any feeling for themselves and their family needs to take advantage of the opportunity [of hospice]. They need to understand how lovely and accommodating they are. The facility is wonderful.“

We are so blessed to care for Edwin Alward. His enthusiasm for life and gracious nature uplifts all of us at Regional Hospice and Home Care.