Iria Nishimura, executive director of Willamette Valley Hospice, at a jewelry sale benefitting Willamette Valley Hospice (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Willamette Valley Hospice provides hospice and palliative care to our community. The nonprofit’s music therapy program is a specialized service that can give a patient a calming and familiar experience during their most difficult moments. Music therapists learn what type of music is important to and preferred by a patient and will play it for them during difficult treatments or times of extreme pain.  

Studies on hospice patients have shown that pain, physical discomfort, fatigue, anxiety, mood, spirituality, and quality of life are all improved with music therapy.

To raise funds for its music therapy program, the hospice held a socially distanced, reservation-only jewelry fundraiser in the West Salem garden of Sharon McKee on Saturday, May 1. The spacious landscape was perfect for spaced out tables of shiny objects to buy, as well as a scavenger hunt for facts about the hospice.

Hospice Director Iria Nishimura greeted attendees and pointed them to the stars of the show, the music therapists themselves, who performed for guests. They included Jillian Lowery, MT-BC;  Ivan Caluya, MT-BC; and Jessica Patton, MT-BC. 

McKee was delighted to host guests in her superbly manicured garden. The event was initially scheduled to happen last year, but it got canceled, she explained. McKee, who works with the hospice through her graphic design firm, In House Graphics, added, “Supporting this organization is one of my passions.”

Theresa Hart, Community Engagement Manager for the hospice, said the event raised over $7,000 for the program.

Jewelry for sale at a May 1 event benefitting Willamette Valley Hospice (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

McKee Garden (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Music therapist Jessica Patton at a May 1 jewelry sale benefitting Willamette Valley Hospice (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Music therapists Jillian Lowery and Ivan at a May 1 jewelry sale benefitting Willamette Valley Hospice (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Gail Kelch Steck, Willamette Valley Hospice board member, and Melissa Lindley, community outreach coordinator, check in guests at a jewelry sale benefitting Willamette Valley Hospice (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

McKee Home (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

SharonMcKee and BettyO'Brian attend a jewelry sale benefitting Willamette Valley Hospice (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Attendees participate in a scavenger hunt at a jewelry sale benefitting Willamette Valley Hospice (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing regularly for Salem Reporter. During the quarantine, she will be connecting with Salem nonprofits. Reach her at mlvg@prsalem.com and follow her on Facebook.

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