One of our players, Rylie Maready, recently received the National Charity League Presidents Award for her service with hospice patients. Below is the nomination written by her mother. We are so incredibly lucky to have a community full of inspiring young women like Rylie!
Rylie began volunteering with Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care in 2015. After a heartfelt
loss within the family, Rylie’s mother, Wynde became a Hospice Patient Volunteer. A few years
later they joined NCL and Wynde asked Rylie if she would be interested in going to see
patients with her.
Rylie began visiting Milly. A theatrical 89 yr old woman who loved children. She had worked
with children as a profession and when Rylie showed up to introduce herself for the first time,
it was love at first sight. Milly would show Rylie photos of herself working with children, telling
her fascinating stories about her life; Rylie would read to Milly; Milly would take her stuffed
animals (or animals Rylie would bring her) and create animated plays with them, or tell jokes
with them with her various voices just to entertain Rylie. Rylie and Milly would laugh
together, a lot. The sparkle in Milly’s eye, the pure delight to be making a child laugh again
was unforgettable. Soon, Rylie brought her little sister to meet Milly. Together, the three of
them would read, talk, show pictures, play games and dance together. Yes, every Thursday a
pianist would come to the Living Facility, play the piano and sing. Rylie and her sister would
dance for, and with, all the patients who could stand. Milly, would stand up out of her wheel
chair, shake her bottom around for a few minutes and then take a breather. Rylie wouldn’t
take a breather, however. All the patients, including Milly, would clap and sing for Rylie to
dance. Wynde was told by one of the nurses that Rylie was their legs, their youth. They felt
that they could dance through her. They felt that she was there for them, not just for Milly.
Soon, Milly couldn’t dance any longer. Rylie would still wheel her to the music room and
dance for her, for all of the patients. But there was a difference. Rylie could “feel” the
difference. Soon, Milly couldn’t read to Rylie and didn’t feel much like telling jokes. Rylie
continued to read to Milly, show her photos and take her for walks in her wheelchair, now
telling Milly the stories about her own life. But there was a difference. Rylie could “tell” the
difference. Milly was tired a lot. She couldn’t concentrate and soon she was bedridden.
Rylie left with her family on a long planned Spring Break vacation. Rylie worried and talked
about Milly throughout the week. When Rylie arrived home, a Hospice Doctor had phoned
and left a message. Rylie rushed to see Milly. It was a Saturday morning and Milly’s family
was visiting her in her room. Milly hadn’t been awake or alert for some time. The family gave
Rylie and her sister their seats next to Milly’s bed. Rylie spoke to Milly, rubbed her hand and
stroked her hair. Milly opened her eyes and looked straight at Rylie! It was only briefly, but
the acknowledgment was there. The family was overwhelmed; we were all overwhelmed,
with comfort and love. That evening, Milly passed. We know that Milly waited to say good-
bye to Rylie and her little sister.
The weeks following were very difficult for Rylie. Her heart broken, she still volunteered for
Hospice but in other avenues, such as house sitting for a funeral, cleaning the Hospice aviary,
or completing paperwork.
It has taken Rylie a full year to agree to commit to another patient. Rylie is now visiting
Margie, a very intelligent 93 yr old woman. Rylie and Margie love doing Word Searches and
Trivia together. They also enjoy the ice cream and popcorn parlor where they can look at
sparkly items for sale. Often, Margie goes back to her room with not only a full bag of popcorn
but with a handmade cloth flower wrapped around her wheelchair or a necklace around her
neck, curtesy of Rylie. Just last month, Margie commented how beautiful Rylie’s bracelet was
– it was a hair scrunchie around her wrist – and thus, Margie now has one in her favorite color,
The past couple of visits, Margie hasn’t been as interested in doing games with Rylie or even
visiting the ice cream/popcorn parlor. She is becoming confused and not wanting to leave her
room. This past visit Margie wanted to sleep a lot, so Rylie painted her nails and rubbed her
hands. As we were leaving the Living Facility, tears were flowing from Rylie’s eyes once again.
She can “feel” the difference.
At 15 years old, Rylie is simply amazing. She gives her heart completely and unconditionally to
her Hospice patients. The Volunteer Coordinator at Hospice believes “that Rylie is a role model
for the future generation. Rylie can help show young people that death is a part of life and
that the terminally ill need love support just like anyone else. Rylie is incredible and will be an
amazing adult because of her experience with Hospice in her formative years. We appreciate
all she has done for our patients, birds, and bereaved families.”
Her Volunteer Coordinator at Hospice and myself cannot think of anyone who deserves to be
honored for her service more than my daughter, Rylie Maready. Rylie will be making a
difference in patients’ lives for the rest of hers.