Diane Peregoy never met a stranger.
She often would strike up conversations with people she saw on the street, something that amused her husband, Steve, and daughter, Sarah.
Steve remembers a time, on one of her treasured trips with Sarah to New York City, Diane began talking to a woman nonstop as they rode the elevator down together from the 20th floor.
After they all exited, Sarah told Diane: “‘Mom, you know she doesn’t speak English,’” recalls Steve with a smile in his voice. But that minor obstacle wouldn’t stop Diane. “She was still going to make friends,” he says.
Diane decided to pursue a career in nursing after her father was diagnosed with cancer during her first year of college; she wanted to support others in their time of need. She seemingly held every nursing position possible, from psychiatric to emergency department to school nursing to geriatrics with the Baltimore County Health Department. “She was a very big people person, with a need to help and make a difference,” Steve says.
Both originally from Westminster, Steve and Diane moved back to their hometown about 12 years ago. Diane was drawn to the greenhouse on their property. It became a comfort to her, especially when she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and, later,
receiving hospice care. “That was her way of being able to continue growing things and have life flourish,” Steve remembers. Diane stayed in Dove House, BridgingLife’s inpatient facility in Westminster, on two occasions, and the family appreciated the home-like feel of the space. “I knew she wanted to give back and show her appreciation, and I wanted to make sure that happened on her behalf,” Steve says.
And Steve wanted to give back to the organization that had cared for his wife so expertly, yet compassionately. “They were just an amazing support system,” he says of the hospice team.
As a result, the Diane Peregoy Dove House Beautification Fund was formed in recognition of the extraordinary care Diane received. This fund enables the special touches that make Dove House so warm and comforting, such as poinsettias, greenery and other décor during the holidays, and flowers for the railing planters on the balconies of the patient rooms. “She spent a lot of hours in the greenhouse, so it seemed like a perfect match to honor her in that way,” says Steve.
Simply put, the fund allows the BridgingLife team to create an environment that is positive, peaceful and joyful, as Steve describes it, while families are experiencing some of the most difficult times of their lives.
From first being diagnosed with breast cancer, Diane told her doctors she never wanted to know what stage her cancer was considered. “She said, ‘The last thing I ever want to have happen is to no longer have hope,’ and that was her mindset, really, until the very end,” says Steve.
Through this fund, beauty and hope are fostered for all who enter through Dove House’s doors. And, in her own way, Diane is still touching the lives of strangers.
Support Quality Hospice Care in Your Community
Learn how you can contribute to BridgingLife’s mission of high quality hospice and palliative care for all at bridginglifecare.org/make-a-gift.