Respite Care is More Important Than You Think

Respite Care is More Important Than You Think

It was like walking into a family reunion. Where the little cousins are running circles playing a game of their own creation, while the bigger kids lounge on couches in the living room focused on their devices, and parents gather in the kitchen over a cup of coffee sharing stories of their children’s challenges and triumphs, just out of earshot of the kids.

But the remarkable thing is that this isn’t a family reunion. In fact, these families have never met before.

It just feels like they have.

Such is the gift of the respite provided by families having the opportunity to get away to Faith’s Lodge, and what is soon to be provided by the forthcoming home in the works from Crescent Cove.

A long weekend at Faith’s Lodge provides time and space for families with children who have medically complex conditions, who often feel out of place with others with all of their routines and equipment and concerns, to feel right at home in the company of others navigating similar challenges. Here, among the peaceful backdrop Nature provides, there is solace, understanding, and companionship on the journey rarely found this easily – or immediately – elsewhere.

“We are realizing what a relief it is to be here, to not have to explain ourselves to anyone because they’re in it, too,” one dad told me. “Not only are we gaining great insight and resources from other families who know what we’re dealing with, we are able to let down and relax with people like us, people who get it.”

I was fortunate to be a visitor at the lodge on this particular weekend, to observe the power of coming together in action for these families sharing the common experience of raising a family in the face of significant medical challenges and life-threatening conditions. While my role there was to provide opportunities for creative self-expression for these children and their families, what I received, was much greater than what I gave.

I received the gift of witnessing the love and the light at the heart of each of these families, despite – or perhaps because of – their challenges. Not only did they welcome me with open arms, it was clear they had welcomed each other warmly, as well.

As we created together, the kids and siblings and parents alike casually shared stories of the challenges and the gifts of their lives and situations. Everyone was included in this impromptu story circle, with each story and storyteller honored with the respect and attention their contribution deserved.

It was magical.

Respite care creates the space for these kinds of interactions to take place. Space away from the distractions of home to make new friends, to rest and rejuvenate, to reconnect as a family, as a couple, and also as individuals. Space to remember what the hard work of caregiving of others is for, what the important work of caregiving of self means to the sustainability of facing daily challenges, and that they’re not alone.

Space to be.

Christy Marek


“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ~John Muir


Your donations to Crescent Cove help fund both the building of the forthcoming Crescent Cove home for children’s respite and hospice care, and in the meantime, funding families’ opportunities to benefit from the essential respite provided by visiting Faith’s Lodge.

Want to learn more about whether your family is eligible for a respite visit to Faith’s Lodge? Visit our website: , talk to your primary care provider, or call us (952-426-4711) for more details.


Mary Moon Foundation’s Hairball Concert Supporting Crescent Cove

Mary Moon Foundation’s Hairball Concert Supporting Crescent Cove

The Mary Moon Foundation expanded its fundraising efforts this year with a new summer benefit concert.  After five successful family-centric events at the Water Park of America, the Mary Moon Foundation held a 21 and over event with the 80’s hairband Hairball!   The event drew a new audience for the foundation; IMG_8529which expanded the number of people the foundation reaches.   Through this event more people learned about the foundation’s mission and goals and were able to contribute by volunteering or with a financial donation.

The Hairball concert was a blast!  It was held outdoors at Bogarts in Apple Valley, MN.  Thousands of people attended this first Mary Moon benefit concert.  Johnny Rock Lassman (from KQRS) and Christine O’Keefe (Mary Moon co-founder) introduced Hairball for a “Bombastic Celebration of Arena Rock”. 20160716_205338 Six songs into their set, Hairball paused to share the mission of the Mary Moon Foundation and invited Christine on stage to help with “a moment of noise” to celebrate Mary’s life – it was fantastic!

Continue reading Mary Moon Foundation’s Hairball Concert Supporting Crescent Cove

Love life! Join us at Mugs for Maryah on June 18 – in memory of Maryah Tift

The relationships that make lasting impacts our lives often begin as chance encounters with special individuals. For many people, meeting Maryah Tift was just that – a lucky run in with a person who gave every life she touched just a Maryah_promlittle more meaning. A little more direction. A little more light. I often laugh to myself when asked who my mentors are in life and I have to say, out loud, that my greatest mentor is a 16 year old girl who taught me one of life’s most important lessons.

As I mentioned before, important relationships often begin by chance – mine and Maryah’s was no different. Maryah was a student at the school my mom worked at, IHM-Saint Luke’s. She talked to me about Maryah – an inspiring young girl who had been fighting valiantly against cancer since she was in fourth grade.  One day, I called my mom at work and she happened to be sitting with Maryah. My mom answered the phone whooping and celebrating, “She got in!” I had happened to call at the exact moment Maryah found out she would be attending Cretin-Derham Hall the next year.  At the time, I was in a freshman/sophomore mentoring program at CDH so I had my mom give her my cell phone number.  Just like that, I met one of the most important people in my life, through a happenstance, after school phone call to my mom.
Continue reading Love life! Join us at Mugs for Maryah on June 18 – in memory of Maryah Tift

This is not a luxury facility. This is a basic necessity. -Nita Killebrew

My passion for children’s hospice came into play in the late 90’s when Harmon was a spokesperson for adult hospice.  Harmon and I both were champions of hospice due to his critical health needs in the early 90’s when at-home hospice was primarily for AIDS patience.

Children have always been the primary focus in our life as Harmon and I have 9 children and 21 grandchildren and 7 great grandbabies. One of our granddaughters has a life-limiting condition so we both saw the need for a child- specific facility. The thought of a child with a life-limiting illness without a child-specific facility for family and child respite and end of life care was emotionally inconceivable for the two of us as parents and grandparents.

When Harmon was released to hospice for his end-of-life home care, he wanted his fans and friends to know that he was at peace and very comforted with the knowledge that he could take advantage of the services offered.  Hospice was a God-send for us.  For five months as his condition escalated, the only thing he asked for was for me to “hold him.”  As any end of life caretaker can attest, those final months are a blitz of appointments, IV’s, feeding tubes, etc. and that does not include the regular needs and responsibilities of housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, running a business and foundation, and public PR.

“Just hold me, Nita.”  I’ll never forget those words.  “Just hold me.”  When hospice came into our home, I finally could just stop everything else and “just hold” him.  I cannot fathom a child going through this and asking his parents to “just hold me mommy & daddy” and they don’t have the opportunity to do that.  A child-specific hospice facility is so important to the comfort and care of these children.  It’s critical for these families to have respite and support during these difficult months & years.  Their hearts are already being sucked out of their chest with a straw and they are overwhelmed with not just this child, but all the other day to day responsibilities of life, including: working full time jobs to maintain health care, caring for other children in the home, and getting their child the physical therapy and health care they need.  It’s overwhelming.  We need Crescent Cove’s in every state, in every city, in every community.  This is not a luxury facility.  This is a basic necessity.

Written by Nita Killebrew

Nita Killebrew with TC Bear


“Why do children need their own hospice?”

“Why do children need their own hospice..?”
I have been met with this question several times over the years while Crescent Cove has fueled a special fire in my heart.

Until May of 2010, I would’ve been one of those people asking this innocent question.

Because of one incredible young woman, my life’s course changed completely. Maryah Tift was my better half. Having battled Ewing’s Sarcoma since being diagnosed at nine, she was no stranger to mustering up immeasurable strength. It wasnimage1(1)‘t until she was nearing the end of her earthly journey that I realized just how strong she was. Maryah spent the remainder of her courageous battle in an adult hospice. The walls possessed no lively art. The feel was somber and quiet. This was certainly no place for the most exuberant and fierce person I will ever have known. But because homes like Crescent Cove are not widely available to the 50,000 US and 700 MN infants, children and young adults who will pass away annually from a life-limiting condition–this was where her battle with cancer came to an end.

The United States is the only leading industrialized nation where pediatric care falls short. Not only are we falling short, but we are several years behind the United Kingdom when it comes to pediatric palliative care and hospice.

This brings me to my mission. Maryah and I bonded over our immense love of things that sparkle. She was there in the front row when I won Miss Minnesota and I know she will be right next to me as I compete this weekend to bring Crescent Cove and pediatric hospice to the core of our nation’s focus. It is an honor to work alongside in the most intimate of ways with Crescent Cove and our sister homes across the country to make sure that soon, no child will spend the rest of the life they are living being constantly reminded that they are leaving this world way too soon. To make sure that Mom can stop checking the monitors and just hold her child. That siblings can cherish sacred time together and worry about nothing more than laughter and creating memories.

My mission is not complete without the incredible founder, staff and volunteers that service thousands of families in Minnesota ALONE.
I speak directly to those who have found solace in Crescent Cove for their children: I am in awe of you! We will not rest until you and your children have a place to.

I thank Katie, Rachel and Zach (Maryah’s parents) for allowing me to be a part of her legacy and continue the discussion and show that there are living breathing answers to that question that so many have: “Why do children need their own hospice..?”

Because every child deserves to spend their life living.

Promising the moon,

Morgan Bredde

Mrs. Woodbury International 2016