Kim and Mike Burden were married for 35 years and raised four sons together. In December 2010, the couple started a different journey filled with hormonal therapy, surgeries, radiation appointments and a lot of uncertainty.
“She was simply awesome,” says Mike about his late wife. “Even after we got the news that she had breast cancer, Kim always put everyone else first. We had a wonderful marriage, and she was an incredible mom to our boys. They were her pride and joy and her top priority, along with our grandson Nick.”
Kim fought valiantly against the disease, but as the pain grew intolerable and the treatments proved ineffective, she was given the choice to seek hospice care. That’s when she was introduced to Carroll Hospice.
“The care we received was incredible,” says Mike. “Carroll Hospice made her last days as comfortable as possible and gave her the ability to enjoy receiving friends and family throughout her 10 days at home. It was an amazing celebration of Kim’s life.”
After Kim’s passing, Mike was inspired by his wife’s selflessness and the difference that Carroll Hospice made in their lives to start a foundation in her honor. The Kim Kelly Burden Foundation was created in 2016, and has since established three separate funds at Carroll Hospice.
The first fund established was the Kim Kelly Burden Education Fund. It was created to raise hospice care awareness in the community. The goal is that those who may need hospice care will seek it early enough to fully benefit from the comfort and services that it provides. In 2017, Carroll Hospice was able to host four sessions of the educational seminar, Being Mortal, with more than 120 people in attendance.
The Kim Kelly Burden Children’s Assistance Fund is available to help children who are dealing with the death of a loved one. The money supports Carroll Hospice’s Camp T.R., a free overnight therapeutic grief program for children ages 7 to 15, and provides personalized resources, counseling and distraction tools such as books and toys.
The third fund, the Kim Kelly Burden Patient & Family Assistance Fund, helps bring the personal touches that make care at Carroll Hospice the special experience that it is. Not only will this fund help families in need afford day-to-day care, it will also provide a means to grant patients’ last wishes.
“The Kim Kelly Burden Foundation gives us the comfort of knowing that we can make every day special,” says Regina Bodnar, executive director of Carroll Hospice. “We ask each patient and family, ‘What would make this day the best day possible? What special thing would you like to do?’ This money allows us to give meaningful touches that create great memories.”
From simple pleasures, such as a birthday cake and card on a patient’s birthday, to the more unique requests, including a wedding at Carroll Hospice’s Dove House inpatient facility so that a patient could see her son get married, this fund ensures that more patients get to see their last wishes come true.
“Our annual fundraisers, held in October, have raised more than $100,000 in two years,” says Mike. “The generosity of our friends and family amazes me. They give to help people who are facing struggles that we may all face someday. They are Kim’s heroes.”