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Teen volunteer plans fundraiser event to benefit Hospice of Wichita Falls

Celebrating the journey of life is the focus of a fundraiser for Hospice of Wichita Falls organized by one of their volunteers, Manasvi Reddy.

C’est La Belle Vie: A Dancer’s Dream will be a dinner, performance by the Wichita Falls Youth Ballet, documentary, speakers and a silent auction.

“The reason we went with that title is C’est La Belle Vie means ‘It’s a beautiful life’ and I think that something I’ve learned here at Hospice. In the time I’ve been at Hospice, almost a year now, it’s really about the life here. It’s not so much death – that’s kind of what people associate Hospice with,” Manasvi said.

Manasvi is a Rider High School sophomore, has been a Hospice volunteer for almost a year and has been a dancer for 12 years.

The idea for this event that combines her passion for the arts with her love of health care seemed almost out of reach when she envisioned it last year.

“I’ve always loved to dance but never considered it a career choice. This is a way to bring my passion for the arts and my passion for health care. I really want to pursue a career in medicine. This brings both communities together, that’s another reason I’m excited for this,” she said.

During the planning process, Manasvi said she first approached her dance teachers about the idea.

She then coordinated with Hospice staff who hired an event planner, gathered sponsors, chose a caterer (Dean Café), and more.

For the silent auction, she said they have many great products and baskets, but are welcoming of other donations if any local businesses or organizations want to give.

“And, of course, my parents have been amazing through all of this. … I don’t think there’s been anybody that we’ve approached that has not been encouraging along the way. We’ve had a lot of support from the community because Hospice really is an investment in posterity in Wichita Falls,” Manasvi said.

The importance of end-of-life care became clear to her, Manasvi said, when her grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when she was in sixth grade.

“He lived in India, so the care that he received over there is very different to what we have here. He was also in a remote village, so he didn’t have access to any kind of palliative treatments the way that Hospice does here.

Because I have family in the medical field, we were able to keep him comfortable the entire time. But I began to realize because we have something like Hospice in Wichita Falls, I was going to everything in power to support it and help its growth and that’s how I became a volunteer,” she said.

She volunteers twice a week for about four hours total working in the office and spending some time observing medical staff in the in-patient area.

The medical aspect of her time at Hospice is her favorite, she said, as she plans to pursue a

career in medicine in the future.

Being so young, Manasvi said it was difficult at first, being around situations where patients are nearing the end of their lives.

Her thoughts on it changed, however, when she witnessed a patient pass away for the first time.

“The nurses didn’t know it was going to happen right then. But I think more of what happened afterward, how they prayed over him, and sang to him and were so caring. I realized that if I had to have a terminal illness in the future, whatever happens to me, I hope that it would be as peaceful as it was for him. It makes death a little less scary,” Manasvi said.

Manasvi hopes this festive event will draw more light to the idea of hospice care and encourage people to focus on the beautiful journey of life rather than its end.

C’est La Belle Vie: A Dancer’s Dream will be at 7 p.m., Jan. 26 at The Forum, 2120 Speedway Ave.

Tickets are $100 for a single, $150 for a couple or $600 for a table of eight.

Call Hospice at 940-691-0982 to get tickets.

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