Edmarc’s Silver Anniversary

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

About 75 former board members, founders and volunteers of Edmarc Hospice for Children gathered recently for the organization’s 25th anniversary reunion.

Edmarc began in 1978 at Suffolk Presbyterian Church, when a group of church members reached out to help Marcus Hogge, the 6-year-old son of church members Joan and Allen Hogge. Marcus, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 2, died in February 1980, just short of his eighth birthday.

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The minister at Suffolk Presbyterian there at the time, Ed Page, also had cancer. Because the group was formed to give comfort and support to both of these individuals, it was named Edmarc, in their honor, said Debbie Stitzer-Brame, the organization’s executive director.

Edmarc Hospice for Children attempts to ease the traumatic effects of a child’s terminal illness or death on a family, she said. The hospice helps by providing home healthcare, hospice and bereavement support.

People attending the reunion remembered what the organization was like in its early days. Although many changes have occurred over the years, the organization retains the same quality of leadership, dedication and service.

The group now sponsors special events, such as Jaycee activities, junior league sports and other activities for an ill child to spend a few quality hours together.

&uot;It is a time for both the child and parents to forget that their little one is sick and to act like a normal family,&uot; Stitzer-Brame.

Edmarc is actively recruiting volunteers to provide all sorts of help, including working with special events, transporting patients and providing emotional support, she added. The next volunteer orientation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22 at the Edmarc office in Chesapeake, 733 Volvo Parkway, Suite 202.

On Oct. 28, Edmarc and Jewish Family Services will begin volunteer facilitator training for Peace by Piece, a support group for any child in Hampton Roads who has suffered the loss of a parent, sibling, grandparent or any other significant person in their lives.

The group meets, and trained facilitators must be available on the second and fourth Thursdays from September through June from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Volunteers must complete six training sessions and are asked to make at least a one-year commitment.

For details or to volunteer, call

Jill Billiau at Edmarc, 312-8999.