At noon on Tuesday, January 12th, Regional Hospice and Home Care’s guests had the distinct honor of meeting William— a new top dog who made his debut. This new mascot represents the determination and good-hearted optimism that paved the way for the Center for Comfort Care & Healing.
More than just a meaningful face—William is also on a tour of duty to add a dose of light-hearted fun for the children participating in the Center’s bereavement programs. In a new Healing Hearts Center for Grief and Loss activity named Where’s William, William’s photo will accompany children participating in the Center’s bereavement programs on their adventures over the next six months. With his photo in hand, each child will be able to submit William’s whereabouts to Regional Hospice via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for friends to follow on the Regional Hospice Facebook page.
A bronze French bulldog with a prestigious provenance and namesake, William is the 2003 creation of internationally-renowned British sculptor, Nicola Hicks, and is on loan from the Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection of businessman/poet/philanthropist, William Louis-Dreyfus.
“What an honor to have Nicola Hicks’ art in our Center! I am deeply grateful to Mr. Louis-Dreyfus for allowing William to take up residence as our temporary mascot,” said President & CEO Cynthia Emiry Roy. “Mr. Louis-Dreyfus generously hosted two events at his gallery to generate support during our campaign to build the Center. It is a pleasure to have Mary Anne Costello and Christina Kee, who manage the Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection and were docents for our guests at those events, here with us today.”
Mary Anne Costello applauded the Center’s beauty and attention to detail for patient and family comfort as she introduced William and spoke briefly about the artist, Nicola Hicks.
Born into a family of well-established London artists in 1960, Nicola Hicks studied at Chelsea School of Art, and received her MA at the Royal College of Art. In 1995, at the age of 35, Nicola Hicks was awarded the honor of MBE (Most Excellent Award for the British Empire) for her contribution to the visual arts. She has had major solo shows in leading museums and galleries in Great Britain and internationally.
Though Hicks has endowed William with an affable, steadfast manner, she possesses a unique skill in creating sculptural works combining disparate qualities such as charming, menacing, grieving, and emotionally-fraught characters. She accomplishes this by creating her characters first as charcoal drawings on huge sheets of brown paper, then working primarily with plaster and straw. Hicks then casts many of her sculptures in bronze with such subtlety that every fragile detail of plaster and straw is reproduced.
Regally positioned atop a table in the Center’s main lobby, William will fill his days welcoming patients, families and visitors while building his very own fan base among the children at the Healing Hearts Center for Grief and Loss. “We have a tradition where our pet therapy dogs greet children as they enter our Center for bereavement groups. I know William will delight them and all of the families who come here,” continued Roy, “and since he’s a bulldog, he’ll also have a joyfully nuanced meaning to everyone who helped us make our Center possible!”
“Where’s William will be great fun for our Healing Hearts children,” said Joanna DeNicola, the manager of Regional Hospice’s Healing Hearts Center for Grief and Loss. “He will be with them in school, playing outside, on road trips, wherever they feel like posting his photo. William is also a symbol of our children’s resilient spirit that makes them open to so much joy despite the losses they have experienced.”
Built by hope, generosity and persistence, the Center for Comfort Care & Healing has become a sanctuary of compassion and the uniquely comforting support that embraces families in the care of hospice angels. Please keep an eye out for William when you enter the Center, and please give him a mental high five—he embodies the tenacity of a truly caring community.
Regional Hospice and Home Care’s team of experienced clinicians have been providing physical, emotional, spiritual and bereavement support to children, adults and their families through our palliative and hospice care program for the past 30 years. Regional Hospice and Home Care is a nonprofit, state-licensed and Medicare-certified home health care and hospice agency. Now, with the opening of our new private-room, specialty hospital for palliative and end-of-life care — the Center for Comfort Care & Healing — Regional Hospice and Home Care can bring that same hope and compassionate care close to home and under one roof.