Category Archives: About

2013 Wishard/Eskenazi Cycling Team Photos Coming Soon!

On Friday, we will begin posting our riders’ profiles and photos.  New team members have joined many returning cyclists to raise awareness about palliative care.  We will ride to remember the patients of the Wishard/Eskenazi Palliative Care Program who died in 2012.  Any money donated to the ride will go to support the care of seriously ill patients of Marion County at the new Eskenazi Health.


We would like to give a special thanks to the Glasscock Family Foundation for their generous support! This 160 mile ride across Indiana is to raise awareness for the seriously ill, as well as to remember those that we have lost. We are also looking to raise 50,000 dollars by the 21st of July. Through interactions with our patients, we have identified three important areas that will benefit our patients:

· No One Dies Alone (NODA) – this is a new program that we hope to implement for our patients who have no loved ones close by. Through volunteers, we hope to provide companionship and vigils for our dying patients. We believe that each life is important and we want to make sure that our patients, who would otherwise leave this world alone, feel that someone, indeed, cares.
· Bereavement Program – for those patients who are fortunate to have loved ones close by, we would like them to know that their families and friends will be comforted when they are gone. Our Palliative Care Team recognizes that grief has physical, social, and behavioral dimensions that often require professional attention. In order for us to provide comprehensive palliative care for our city’s less fortunate, we need to enhance our existing bereavement services.
· Memorial Services – these services are held in memory of our departed patients. They offer our patients’ families and our Wishard community opportunity to remember, reflect, and honor our patients.

All money raised will go towards funding each of these areas. I am hoping that you and your colleagues can help us reach our goal.

Donations can be made by:
· Check sent to the Eskenazi Health Foundation Attention: Palliative Care Program #642, 1001 W 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202.
· Online at Wishard Palliative Care Program / Bereavement Program In the upper right hand corner of the header, click Donate, which will pull up the Registration screen. After you register, click continue to make a donation. You can reference the account with either Wishard Palliative Care Program / Bereavement or account #642.

Remembering 700 at the end of RAIN 2011

Our team carried laminated cards with the names of more than 700 patients, family and friends who have died since our last Ride to Remember in 2009. Each team member rode 160 miles on Saturday, July 16th in their memory. To date, sponsors, friends and other well-wishers have contributed more than $17,000 to this year’s ride in support of our Palliative Care bereavement program!

The Glasscock Family Foundation

A special, BIG, and heartfelt thanks to the Glasscock Family Foundation for their generous contribution to again support and sponser our second Ride to Remember. We will remember them as we cycle the 160 miles from Terre Haute to Plainfield on July 16th.

Ride to Remember 2

On July 16th, a new Wishard Bike Team will participate in the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) in order to raise awareness about Palliative Care and to remember our patients who have died since Dr. Greg’s first Ride to Remember in 2009. Return to this blog to view regular updates on this event. To learn more, contact Mr. Tom Whitehead at (317) 630-7767 or email:
Look for our announcement in Sunday July 10th’s Indianapolis Star!

Atlantic Ocean!

On Thursday October 22nd, we finally pedaled our way through Charleston, South Carolina and across the Cooper River over a fantastic bridge giving us our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. Oh, Happy Day! After a quick stop at Poe’s Tavern (as in Edgar Allen), we rode together, 16 strong in our Trek Cross Country jerseys to the Boardwalk at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms.

It is difficult to describe the depth of emotions, but happiness was near the top. Now that the trip is over, I can admit that I had my doubts along the way. Most of these were before I left for California but I also seriously considered calling it quits during the first week. The Mojave Desert was beautiful but it wasn’t a lot of fun. I don’t think one is supposed to ride a bike across it. The desert begs for another mode of transportation: an airplane comes to mind.

But I had to get to Poplar Bluff, Missouri to see Hilbert Joseph Gramelspacher. At that point, we were more than half way and I knew that I could make it to Nashville for another day of rest. We only had seven more days of riding and some flat terrain ahead once we cleared the Great Smokeys and the Blue Ridge Mountains. How I love the flats…

I know that I could not have completed this trip without our intrepid Trek guides, Dave “Big Wave” Edwards and Eric “Mr. Bill” Berkas. Also, Tara “the not-so-tender-tenderizer” kept our muscles supple enough to pedal each day and finally, sweet Bet who never failed to arrange everything with a smile. Thousands of thanks to each of them for their tireless efforts and impeccable professionalism over thousands of miles.

Each of these 3280 miles was ridden in memory of a particular person. During the past 40 days, Drs. Lyle Fettig and Rafael Rosario continued to care for the dying poor in Indianapolis with expert help of Mary Smith-Healy, Karen Estle, Judy Hetzel, Brenda Mason and Christine Slater-Turner. Our labors of love for our patients do not stop with the end of this ride. I look forward to joining the home team on Monday. The journey continues because it’s about how you live.

Finally, I’m certain that I could not have found two better people to ride with than Katherine “Kryptonite” Dayem and Mike “Smash Mouth” Hobin. These two excellent cyclists have become even more excellent friends and I can’t wait to ride with them again. I am missing them…

Marie – On Listening

I applied to the palliative care ICM group as a first-year medical student with a personal motive. My grandfather had been paralyzed by a stroke and bedridden for a few years, and I wanted to learn how to speak with people like him, as they were approaching their deaths. I suppose I was also curious to find out how I would handle and understand another person’s death. So, at the beginning of the year, I was introduced to Marie, a patient on hospice care with a complicated medical history that included epilepsy, mental retardation, HIV and renal failure.** Marie had no friends or family to aid in her care. And while I tried, as an eager First Year, to wrap my mind around understanding and solving – or at least improving – her medical and social problems, I soon realized that my role in our relationship was to take a different path.
I met her for the first time about a week into the semester, when we went to her hospice facility. We sat down at the dining room table to talk. She stuttered badly and it was extremely difficult for me to understand what she was saying at first. I found myself waiting, often for awkwardly long periods, while she would pause. When I gave her the chance, she always started talking again
As I continued to visit her every 2-3 weeks, our communication had a lot of ups and downs, cycling with the complications of her disease and the side effects of her many medications. Sometimes she said more, sometimes she said less. Sometimes we didn’t speak for an entire visit. Initially, I’d arrive with an agenda of what I wanted to ask her, but eventually I learned to wait for her to speak and guide the conversation.
Although I don’t think Marie ever learned my name, she would light up when I visited and stop whatever she was doing in order to talk to me. She would describe her seizures to me in her own words. She told me about her parents and her childhood. She shared her understanding of death: when people die, she explained, they get to see their parents again. I could tell it eased her mind to share her thoughts with me.
She died at the end of the year. Just days before, we located some estranged relatives who came to her memorial service. I wish I could have expressed to them what an influence their family member had had on me.

Marie taught me a lot about my role in healthcare. Medical school is daunting, and I’d worked up personal expectations of becoming some sort of hero and miracle worker. But my work with Marie taught me that sometimes “making a difference” in a person’s care has nothing to do with working wonders. It can have everything to do with braving awkward silences, and listening to a person no one else will listen to. And I’m ever grateful for this lesson.

* Contributed by Val Simianu, a fourth-year medical student at IUSM
** The patient’s name has been changed to respect her privacy.

About the Ride

Ten years ago, Wishard Hospital established a Palliative Care Program to provide comprehensive and compassionate care to every patient and family faced with life limiting conditions. To celebrate our 10th Anniversary and to memorialize more than 3000 patients who we have cared for, Dr. Greg Gramelspacher will attempt to ride his bicycle 3,280-miles across the United States. Dr. Greg’s Ride To Remember is a testament to the deep impressions made by the many patients whose lives have touched the staff of Wishard’s program, and to the core principles of Palliative Care.

Every person, regardless of financial and personal circumstances, deserves to spend his or her final days free of pain and distressing symptoms supported by a loving team of caregivers who are committed to non-abandonment. Each mile of Dr. Greg’s ride is dedicated to a patient or to someone’s loved one. Beginning September 14th, this website’s blog will share some of the most inspirational stories of these unforgettable patients and their families. Each story for the Ride To Remember testifies to the courage, love, and strength of those who have touched the lives of the Wishard Palliative Care team.

Palliative care is not about death and dying, but rather about life and living, helping each person enjoy the fullness of life until the last breathe is gone.