Blaine Pitts MD to direct Pediatric Care Program

by Manny P. Hernandez


Blaine Pitts, MD, Pediatric Care Program Director-Cornerstone Hospice


Cornerstone Hospice has announced its association with Dr. Blaine Pitts who will direct our Pediatric Care Program in the Orlando area, as confirmed by Cindi Harris-Panning, RN and Executive Director of the Orange/Osceola region. Cindi pointed out, “We are elated to be able to announce that Dr. Blaine Pitts will be in charge of this most important unit of our overall patient care. Life-threatening illnesses respect no age and our Pediatric services will indeed be in superb hands under Dr. Pitts, who has been involved in the care of Cornerstone Hospice patients for just over a year and recently contracted as a consulting physician.”


Marian Raftis RN and Clinical Liaison added that Dr. Pitts graduated in 2005 from medical school, holding medical licenses not only in Florida, but in Missouri and Ohio as well. He is also credentialed at Arnold Palmer Hospital. “Dr. Blaine Pitts began a palliative care program at Arnold Palmer Children’s Medical Center in 2011 and in a very short time has almost doubled clinical volume expectations (based on national data) with patients ranging from prenatal through young adulthood,” said Lou Acuff RN and Executive Manager of our Access Department. Dr. Blaine Pitts is a trained and willing pediatrician who is completely dedicated to the care of his patients and their families, and he is a welcomed addition to the Cornerstone Hospice family!


Unarmed Pearl Harbor survivor threw potatoes at Japanese planes!

by Manny P. Hernandez, Public Information Officer


Ninety six year-young U.S. Army veteran of nearly twenty years Glover Manning (sitting, center), is accompanied by his daughter, our own Pam Beasley RN (left), by his young bride Marilynn (right)  --they married at 92-- plus Silver Team’s entire support team behind them! Assigned to a repair ship without armaments nor ammunitions, Manning and his crew raided the ship’s kitchen where they “requisitioned” a load of potatoes which were thrown at the low flying Japanese bombers. “They were flying so low I could almost see the white of their eyes and I wasn’t about to let ‘em get away without receiving some of our potato hits!”, Manning said.


The father of Silver Team’s Pam Beasley RN, U.S. Navy veteran of nearly twenty years Glover Manning (96) was the recipient of a recent Cornerstone Salutes! in Winter Haven. Born November 6, 1916 on the banks of the Altamaha River in Georgia, young Glover Manning enlisted in the U.S. Navy while in his early twenties, saw basic training at the large naval base in Norfolk, Virginia, receiving his first deployment to Pearl Harbor. Manning was assigned to the USS Regal on that fateful December 7, 1941 day. The ship was in a slip for repairs that morning. Manning was part of a work detail getting ready to lower a new boiler into the ship’s bowels with the assistance of a huge crane. Manning was on deck early that morning hoping for an early shore leave to see his wife Betty and two young children who were living in a small cabin in Pununi Heights, but the Japanese started bombing early that Sunday morning, bombing relentlessly, but the USS Regal was an unarmed repair ship commissioned to go out to sea to the aid of disabled destroyers or other fighting ships damaged in battle, patch ‘em up just enough to enable them to return back to nearest port for more extensive repairs. “As we had neither guns nor ammunition on board, we procured a load of potatoes in the ship’s kitchen and we threw the potatoes at the low-flying Zeroes,” said Manning.


“After the bombing I saw a large piece of shrapnel that went through my bunk and lodged in a locker’s metal door. Had I overslept a few extra minutes, I would not be telling this story,” Manning said at his Salutes! After the Pearl Harbor bombing we sailed to assist fighting ships in New Zealand, Australia and the New Hebrides Islands, returning to the States after the war, sailing into New Orleans, where Pam was born. Manning later procured shore duty in the Panama Canal Zone where Glover 3rd was born, and later transferred back to Norfolk, Virginia where little Jimmy arrived a few years later. Our RN Pam Beasley’s Dad served his nation in the U.S. Navy just short of twenty years, retiring in 1957. On November 6, 2012, he’ll be 96 and entire Silver Team wishes this noble warrior a Happy 96th Birthday!


P.S. Glover Manning and Marilynn’s (friend) first spouses had both died years ago of Alzheimer’s and after dating for several years, married at age 92!




Pinktober! a.k.a. Case Management Symposium

By Lolita "Lita" Sergio, RN, Clinical Liaison-Lake/Sumter


Cornerstone Team from left to right are Leah Jackon, Lita Sergio, and Amie Deak.



The Case Management Symposium at Mission Inn in Howey-in-the-Hills was held on October 12 and 13. Cornerstone Hospice was at the entrance to the main ballroom and captured a great deal of attention with breast cancer ribbon balloons, pink pumpkins, pink boas, a "diva" bear door prize, pink ribbons on everything possible and much bling on the table. We were able to talk with many case managers and share brochures and information on our services, and also give them breast cancer mints and raspberry dark chocolate candy! Linda Arredondo, Admissions Manager, served on the committee for this event and did a fantastic job. Jan Russell, Facilities Coordinator, provided her laughter program on Friday night and helped everyone relax and have a great time. Mindy Velez and Marian Raftis, both Clinical Liaisons, came from the Orlando and Osceola area to help with registration and meet with key referral sources.  They were invaluable! Lake and Sumter County Clinical Liaisons Leah Jackson, Lita Sergio, and Amie Deak manned the Hospice “Pinktober” table on Saturday and had many valuable visits with Case Managers. It was an awesome event!



Golf Cart For Sale


The foundation offers to all Cornerstone Hospice staff the first opportunity

to purchase a golf cart recently donated to us.




2002 EZ-Go Freedom


This is an electric vehicle in excellent running condition.  It comes with a battery charger, a fan, and an ice cooler.  We will take bids starting at $1500 with the highest offer accepted by 4:00 pm on Friday November 16th.  Please contact Chandra at 352-742-6819 or email

Orange/Osceola Volunteer Update

by Diane Klebanow, Ruby/Coral Team Volunteer Specialist


September Training Class (pictured, left to right)

Philip Ashburne, Karen Clark, Jim Montgomery, Nicolas Melendez, Sharife Gacel, Robert Butts, Kathryn Flanagan, Rick Richolson, Yemisi Oyeleke, Kemi Thomas, Chelsea Davis, Cathy Davis, Virginia Ritterbusch, Becky Amato (hidden), Stephan Paul, Anna Liriano, Libby Blasdel (hidden), and Diane Klebanow, Volunteer Specialist



Congratulations to our September volunteer training graduates! A class of seventeen dedicated individuals attended our Friday classes on September 21st and 28th.  This was an engaged group that asked many relevant questions of our outstanding guest speakers.  Many thanks to staff members Gladys Almestica, Carol Felder, Claire Gaynor, Don Hanley, Ann Harr, Don Hires, Mardi Mitchell, and Wes Tattinger for helping these new volunteers learn more about Cornerstone Hospice.


Special thanks as well go to our phenomenal “TST Team” who made the testing process smooth and efficient on training days and the following Mondays—Mary Bowers, Ann Harr, Debbie Baker, Gladys Almestica, and Fran Riggins and her team at Winter Park Towers.


We also held a very successful Pet Peace of Mind training in early October, attended by six individuals.  We are in the process of reaching out to many collaborative organizations in our two counties to kick this program into high gear!


We are re-launching our Third Thursday in-service/support meetings.  Please plan to join me at the Orlando office on the third Thursday of each month at 2:00 pm for these informative and supportive get-togethers. 


Also, a word of thanks to office volunteers Sheila Grubstein and Latchmie Dwarkanauth, who have been a huge help with multiple projects during my first three months here! 




Community Relations

by Cheryl Rumbley, Community Relations Coordinator - Lake / Sumter


            Fall is in the air and downtown Leesburg is all dressed up for Halloween.  Dozens of scarecrows are on display along Main Street to get the city in the mood to be Trick-or-Treated and Cornerstone Hospice is right there with the best of them.  Our scarecrow highlights the story of one of our patients and his wish to fish again.  Special thanks go to Jeff Bailey and his dad for building our boat and scarecrow frame and for transporting our entry to the park and setting him in place.  Also thanks to the Clinical Liaison team for helping to pull the idea together, painting, stuffing and decorating. 



The SS Cornerstone Hospice cruised the downtown Leesburg park in front of City Hall during October.

            In addition, health fairs in the area included one sponsored by the Lake County Health Department, Stormy Hill and Gator Harley Davidson, Florida Hospital Waterman, and two for Sumter County providers.  We participated in a health fair at HOPE Lutheran Church in The Villages and with them co-sponsored an End of Life Conference at their church.  The conference highlighted information from Elder Law Attorney Eric Millhorn, Tony Kamus with Beyers Funeral Home, Don Hires, Cornerstone Spiritual Care Manager, and Cheryl Rumbley, Community Relations Coordinator.



The Fall Frenzy is Here

By Ginny Wolfe, Community Relations Coordinator-PHH


Community Relations Coordinator, Ginny Wolfe (fourth from right) and Volunteer Specialist, Carrie Hess (far right) sport their blue hair nets at the employee health fair at ButterCrust Bakery in Lakeland.



Wow!  It’s that time of year again!  For Community Relations, fall brings health fair season, speaking engagements, chamber activities, walks for lots of important causes, fall festivals and the ‘one-day weekend’– need I go on?


Health fairs and fall festivals are being held at 55+ communities, churches, city and county parks and recreation departments and businesses, with over 1100 people in attendance.  Speaking engagements and presentations are being done at Chamber of Commerce lunches, churches and to caregiver groups, with a total audience of over 150.  Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the Red Ribbon Run Against Drug Use/Abuse and Heart Walk fill the weekends.  And in-between, it’s time for board meetings for the Lake Alfred Chamber of Commerce (where I am the vice-president and on the nominating committee), InnerAct Alliance (immediate past president and on the finance/operations committee), and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (where I am just on the board, no offices!).


The ‘frenzy’ will last throughout November, slow down in December (can you believe no one wants me to come talk about death and dying at Christmas-time?) only to begin again in January.


Community Relations News  

By Claire Gaynor, Community Relations Coordinator-Orange/Osceola Counties


Claire Gaynor educating an attendee at yet another health fair!



In a sea of pink… Osceola Cancer Center walkers!


 October is designated “pink month” for Breast Cancer Awareness.  Many stores, organizations and doctor’s office promote the importance of awareness for women.   This year Mindy Velez took up this cause initiating and sponsoring the Osceola Cancer Center’s “Rock the Block Pink Parade” … and if anyone knows how to throw a pink event, it is Mindy.  The lobby was a centerpiece of pink giveaways, pink drinks and pink pumpkins for survivors to sign.  There was a police escort for the walker’s who stopped at different doctor’s offices on route and waved in pink gloves to people passing.  There are pictures of Mindy with Dr. Mamta Vijayvargyia as well as the pink walkers.  After this walk, Mindy also worked with the Sister’s Network for the 9th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness in Winter Garden for its breast cancer walk/informational fair.  For all of us who have been touched by this disease, we understand the importance of mammograms and awareness.


And of course October is a favorite month for trick or treat and no one does it like Universal where we participated in their annual employee health fair.  Other events included health fairs at Lake Buena Vista Hotel, Mark Street Senior Center Halloween Fair and the annual Jewish Pavilion Walk at Crane’s Roost.   




Follow up to Yo Me Cuido

By Ginny Wolfe, Community Relations Coordinator


Group shot of Yo Me Cuido participants




Vivian Norrell, RN, Clinical Liaison-P/H/H presenting Cinco Deseos


Yo Me Cuido was a great success!  27 people signed up in advance and we had 51 attendees, plus the hosts of this event:  Myriam and Janette from Moffitt Cancer Center; Anna from Eloise Resource Center and  Sybil from Angels Care Center of Eloise; as well as Vivian Norrell, RN, Clinical Liaison and me from Cornerstone;.  The majority of the participants were patients from the Angels Care clinic who also brought others with them.


Among the participants were two males that came with their wives and about 12 teenagers. Participants received a folder with information in Spanish and a nice pink bag with a pedometer and an aluminum water bottle.  At the end of the event there was a raffle; a $50 gift certificate from Publix and a Recipe book.  


The breast cancer prevention workshop and the 10 minute talk about Advance Directives were very well received among the attendees. There were questions and answers, breast self- exam demonstration, pre- and post- tests, evaluations, snacks, child care. Overall, everyone went home with something new they learned and our hope is that they will share what they learned with others.


We might never know how many lives will change and even be spared from breast cancer through simply educating and sharing information.



Physicians Expo!

By Lolita Sergio, RN, Clinical Liaison, Lake/Sumter


The Medical Society of Lake and Sumter Counties held its annual Physicians Expo at Mission Inn on Thursday, October 11 from 5-8 p.m. The Grand Ball Room was packed with vendors, but as usual, Cornerstone Hospice stole the show! The theme was centered on “competition” and that Cornerstone is #1. Team Cornerstone included Jan Russell, Dana Ikensaa, Lita Sergio, Lou Acuff, Leah Jackson, and Amie Deak.



Expo Fun!  From left the Clinical Liaison - Cornerstone Hospice team members are Jan Russell, Dana Ikensaa, Lita Sergio, Lou Acuff, Leah Jackson, and Amie Deak.


We had competition at our booth to see how many hot dog stress balls the participants could toss into a small Weber-like charcoal grill. Physicians and their staff would compete and our clapping, whooping, and whistles made us the most fun and creative booth at the event! The first place winner had over 20 hotdogs in the grill in 20 seconds! She received a great basket filled with football-related items and was the best “weiner winger” of the night.



Sweet Wars Pulls in almost 150 hungry visitors

By Kathleen Border, Foundation Director – Polk/Hardee/Highlands.



Overall winner Chef Mac Gentleman of the Palms of Sebring was meticulous in his presentation but the garnish was not necessary as his peanut butter cup was the fan favorite.



Chef Jacob Lyons of Balmoral Assisted Living Facility in Lake Placid brought a cheering section that was not shy during his introduction


Local Highlands County Health Department staff enjoys the journey of tasting and voting for their favorite desserts.


The Sebring Sweet Wars event was a huge success with 136 ballots turned in and almost 150 people in attendance. The event was a wonderful way for Cornerstone Hospice to gain exposure in the community and partner with local assisted living facilities to market their talented food staff.




She Came all the way from Ireland to speak!

By Kathleen Border, Foundation Regional Director – Polk/Hardee/Highlands


Una Molloy making a point during her presentation to staff.



Dublin, Ireland native Una Molloy brought her research and extensive knowledge of Spirituality and Hospice to Cornerstone Hospice staff and nearly 30 local ARNP’s, administrators and physicians. The event highlighted Cornerstone’s mission to care for the entire patient including facets of the patient and family’s spiritual beliefs and ended with a request to clinicians to find balance and meaning in their work.  Una is the cousin of Kate McCaffrey, ARNP, Medical Director for Silver Team.



A Season of Trees 2012

By Susan Bennett, Regional Development Director




Season of The Trees…and they are everywhere!


Volunteer Sally Woodring created her “Tree of Light” to memorialize her husband who was served in our Tavares Hospice House.



Women for Hospice


A Season of Trees 2012


Donnelly Park Pavilion

Downtown Mount Dora


Custom Made Designer Christmas Trees, Decorations,

Baked Goods, Gifts and Plants


Tues Nov 13, 2012

Opening Night Gala

Wine, appetizers and shopping

5 to 7 pm

$25 per person

Call 352-383-8089 for Gala tickets


Wed Nov 14 — Sat Nov 17

Open daily for sales from 10 am to 4:30 pm 


Chance Drawing for 10 Prizes

I-Pad · Vera Bradley Accessories · Disney World Daily Pass for Two

Tavares Fun Ride Certificates · Golf for Two at Country Club of Mount Dora  

Handmade Queen-size quilt · Sonnentag Theater Pass for Two

Goblin Market Gift Certificate · Segway tour of Mount Dora for Two

 Cash Prize of $100


Drawing Nov 17th at Donnelly Pavilion

Tickets: $5 Each or 5 for $20

Call Susan Bennett 352-742-6807 for Drawing Tickets and More Information


Founded over 20 years ago, Women for Hospice is a non-profit organization with a mission to support hospice care in Lake and Sumter Counties.  This dedicated group of women has raised over $2 million to support Cornerstone Hospice houses and programs. Today its membership is approximately 300 strong.


All Proceeds Benefit Patient Care at Cornerstone Hospice



Quote of the Month

Vivian Norrell, RN, Polk County Clinical Liaison



“An optimistic may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?”  -Rene Descartes- (1596-1650)