Here’s another story in our occasional series on how a handful of volunteers can have a huge impact on their community.
In 1978, Rev. Edward Page, a young minister at Suffolk Presbyterian Church, was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor. That same year, Marcus Hogge, a child in Rev. Page’s congregation, was dying from a neuromuscular disease.
Marcus’ parents wanted him to die at home, but not only were there no children’s hospices in Hampton Roads back then, there were none in the nation. So Rev. Page asked the Presbyterian Women’s Offering for funding to create one, and he worked closely with the Hogge family and his congregation to raise more money for the hospice.
When Edmarc Hospice for Children was established in 1978, it was the first hospice in the country specifically for children.
In 1979, Rev. Page died at age 30. Marcus died the next year at the age of 7. But instead of letting grief and devastation get the best of them, their families came together to continue nurturing the hospice named in honor of their loved ones.
Today, Edmarc still supports children with catastrophic illnesses and their families, providing medical, social, and emotional services in their homes. It also offers comfort and bereavement help for families after children’s deaths and has served more than 950 families throughout Hampton Roads since its founding 32 years ago.
In fact, Edmarc has become a model program for children’s hospice care around the country. Even five years after it was created, there were still only four children’s hospice programs in the U.S., and today it remains the only freestanding children’s hospice in Virginia.
So, when it comes to Margaret Meade’s famous quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,” few examples in Hampton Roads illustrate it better than Edmarc.