Meet Nathan Adelson Hospice donor and volunteer extraordinaire, Laura Coleman! Laura is a true philanthropist and her impact is felt throughout the Las Vegas community. Laura attributes much of her social awareness to her mother Evelyn. Growing up in the sixties, Laura observed her mother challenging inequality, contributing to social causes, and standing up for human rights and those less fortunate. Laura is kind-hearted, fun and unique. She enjoys life no matter what she is doing and no matter what challenges she is facing.
Laura first learned about Nathan Adelson Hospice in 1986 when her mother succumbed to her battle with cancer. Since hospice care was a relatively new concept back then, the family was unsure what hospice would mean for their mother. The family’s worries were immediately relieved once Evelyn’s homecare team arrived. The team showered compassion on her mother and her family, and did everything in their power to make Evelyn’s time as comfortable as possible. Evelyn’s final weeks were spent at our in-patient facility. "I’ll never forget our first impression of the in-patient unit. We were welcomed with a huge plate of fresh cookies and milk, and that really made us all at ease from the start," says Laura. "We were provided with beds and we took turns sleeping with mom. Any request we made was granted, and no was never an answer."
Additionally, three of Laura’s brothers were also on hospice care with Nathan Adelson Hospice. Two brothers used home care and another was in the in-patient unit. "What I love so much at Nathan Adelson Hospice is that our family all got to be together and stay together around the clock. I’ll never forget the kindness, excellence, and professionalism of the staff."
After the passing of a loved one, Nathan Adelson Hospice offers grief and bereavement services. One special service we offer is Camp Erin®, a camp for children who have lost a loved one. Laura's grandson, Madison, became a Camp Erin camper at 10 years old after the loss of his father. Laura mentions, "Madison returned from Camp Erin rejuvenated and hopeful, and I’m grateful for his fellow campers and counselors, they made a big difference." Madison attended Camp Erin as a Counselor in 2018 and plans to continue to give back to other children just like him.
Laura began volunteering for Nathan Adelson Hospice in 1990 in home care. Laura credits her excellent volunteer training for setting her up for success working with patients. During her training, Laura was taken to Palm Mortuary to learn about their work and how to assist Nathan Adelson Hospice patients. Laura recalls, "I learned that Palm Mortuary doesn’t dispose of unclaimed ashes, and I was able to locate my father’s ashes who had passed away in 1979! Since then, both mom and dad’s ashes have been reunited in Palm Lake. It was unexpected and I would never have had this opportunity without Nathan Adelson Hospice."
For 11 years, she thoroughly enjoyed going into patient’s homes, offering comfort and companionship. "Sharing meals, having conversations and accompanying families to memorial services was a humbling experience,” says Laura. "My favorite volunteer experience was working with a mother from Germany who had recently moved to Las Vegas to be with her daughter. The mother’s health began to decline and she started services with Nathan Adelson Hospice in home care, then eventually had be moved to the inpatient unit for additional care. However, the mother’s dying wish was to pass away in her hometown in Berlin. To my amazement, Nathan Adelson Hospice and her family made plans to honor her wishes. Nathan Adelson Hospice set up her hospice care in Berlin, and even provided her a nurse companion for her air travel. She and I also built a great relationship, and asked if she could have a green Poker Palace jacket. She wore that jacket her entire journey back to Berlin. It was a really special moment. "Not only is Laura an amazing volunteer, she is also a fantastic fundraiser. Laura and the Golden Monarch Council cooked up a new way to raise funds for Nathan Adelson Hospice and created The Food & Wine Tasting Extravaganza." Over the last 21 years, Laura has chaired the event to increase advocacy for Nathan Adelson Hospice, raising almost $1 million dollars and over 150,000 attendees to date! Her genius created an event that you would want to attend even if it was not for a worthy cause. She forged relationships with local restaurants, chefs, beer crafters and wine makers that still contribute to Nathan Adelson Hospice today. Additionally, Laura used to own a home party company and donated the inventory to Nathan Adelson Hospice, enabling us to raise $83,000!
Laura’s impact is not only felt at Nathan Adelson Hospice. As the owner of Poker Palace, Laura is very close to the North Las Vegas community. She started Al’s Birthday Club 17 years ago, which provides birthday parties to children in need. She also co-founded Armed Forces and Military Appreciation Incorporated with North Las Vegas City Councilman Richard Cherchio, which hosts an annual appreciation event for active military, veterans and first responders. Once, she also had her own TV show called North Las Vegas Now, interviewing people doing good work in North Las Vegas. These are just the highlights of her philanthropy!
Laura is simply an incredible person. On New Year’s Eve she brings sandwiches and desserts to our staff working late shift so they too could have something special to ring in the new year! Her compassion and her dedication is an inspiration to us all. To show our appreciation, Laura was the recipient of the 2014 Brad Garrett Humanitarian Award for her service to Nathan Adelson Hospice. Laura truly goes above and beyond to promote, support and safeguard the future of Nathan Adelson Hospice. Laura says, "Giving back makes me happy, and Nathan Adelson Hospice’s vision statement really speaks to me, that no one should end their journey of life alone, afraid or in pain."