Devastation in Oklahoma: A Message from Don Schumacher

For Immediate Release:
May 21, 2013

The destruction caused by the violent tornado that hit Oklahoma yesterday – and in the violent storms occurring due to the severe weather conditions in our nation’s heartland – is overwhelming. Particularly heart wrenching is the devastation and loss of life seen in Moore, Oklahoma.

As the full impact of the devastation continues to unfold, NHPCO extends its thoughts and prayers to all those whose lives have been affected.  As hospice and palliative care professionals, we recognize the significance of loss within a person’s life, we also understand how those not directly affected may identify with victims and struggle with their emotions. Ultimately, tragedy can show people they have more resiliency and strength then they realized.

For those programs and professionals providing care, we offer our respect and admiration for the challenges faced in continuing to provide the compassionate services that are the hallmark of hospice palliative care. And to all hospices and palliative care programs forced to reach beyond their previously known limits, we salute you. We honor your dedication to serve beyond what could ever be expected.  Your commitment and courage reflect positively and shine a bright light on all those providing and receiving care. 

I also salute the first responders who were on the ground as soon as the tornado lifted to help those in need. There are many moving examples of neighbors coming to the aid of neighbors and the broader community. While we cannot stop the forces of Mother Nature, we learn that the care and support of family and friends is essential. 

NHPCO is reaching out to the state organization and other contacts in the region to get an assessment of how the hospice palliative care community has weathered this disaster. The needs of those who have been hurt and the extensive damage done to homes and businesses will take time to address, and those needs will be significant.

When our country suffers a disaster like this, all attention seems to focus on the devastation and loss. At a time like this it is so important that we monitor how our children may be affected by what they may be seeing on television or news reports. And even for those of us who are fully grown, it’s important that we take note of how the images of destruction might be impacting each one of us.

NHF Disaster Relief Fund

Some of you may be aware of the Disaster Relief Fund created by the National Hospice Foundation to support the hospice palliative care community when disaster overwhelms regularly-available resources.  NHF works to make funds available to our state organizations as they respond to recovery efforts of providers at the local level.  In the past, funds have also gone to support grief and bereavement programs to foster community healing following traumatic events.
We welcome your support of the disaster fund and to enhance NHF’s ability to care for the hospice palliative care community. To donate, please visit