Laflamme honored with volunteer award
Essie Laflamme is a seven year Hospice and Pediatric Palliative Care Volunteer for the Baystate VNA and Hospice. She was recognized for her contributions to BVNAH and its patients on May 14 at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke.
Each year a volunteer is selected to receive the Richard A. Stebbins Volunteer Award. Trustees for the Human Service Forum have selected Laflamme, a Longmeadow resident, as the 2008 recipient of this year's prestigious honor.
Laflamme is a pediatric hospice volunteer and has been the "last friend" many young patients have ever met. She is a puppeteer and is affectionally known as "The Puppet Lady." She used her puppets to allow children to communicate their very deepest feelings. Young patients select puppets to participate at each session from a large basket. After making their selection, they speak through the puppets, sharing their inner most thoughts, fears and pain. Many initiate such delicate subjects via the puppets as "What will it be like in Heaven" and "Will there be pain?" Laflamme is a valuable support to the parents of these sick children while providing a connection to the rest of the hospice team.
Her most recent assignment was to a five-year-old girl on the Pediatric Palliative Care Program. Through numerous visits to her home and Boston Children's Hospital, Laflamme brought joy to this little girl and her siblings and support to her parents. One of Laflamme's fondest memories is of the hours she spent the day before complications of her illness took this child's life. Hours spent having a tea party with the puppets; an all time favorite activity for this little girl.
Laflamme often reflects on her hospice and palliative care work and shares how it has strengthened her emotionally and spiritually. She believes we are here to serve others, so offering time, love and compassion to others is a way for her to put her personal philosophy in action.
The Human Service Forum is a member organization that provides a voice for human service organizations through leadership, information, advocacy, recognition, public relations and capacity building.