December 11, 2017

The Gift of the Red Sweater

The first Simple Gift was a beautiful red sweater -- a single gift marking the beginning of a program that continues today, years later, to endow special gifts fulfilling the wishes of hospice patients throughout San Diego County.  That is the legacy of a simple Christmas gift Laurel Barrett wanted to give her daughter. 

Laurel was a remarkable lady.  She and her husband Kelly Barrett were both Veterans of World War II so after Kelly passed away, Laurel moved into the Veterans Home of California, Chula Vista.  Throughout her amazing life, Laurel had been lovingly cared for by her daughter, Susan Ang and as her amazing journey neared its final chapter here, she also received hospice care. 

As Christmas approached Laurel’s fondest desire was to get her daughter a special gift to thank Susan for the love and devotion she had lavished over so many years.  Laurel shared her wish with her LightBridge Hospice social worker.  When asked what she wanted to give Susan, Laurel replied, “A red cashmere sweater.”   The LightBridge social worker brought this request back to her team.  When LightBridge’s founder and CEO, Jill Mendlen, RN heard about her desire, she made it her mission to fulfill Laurel’s wish! 

Laurel was overjoyed when she heard that LightBridge was going to grant her wish but had no idea how invested they all were in this effort, starting with Jill, the CEO, who personally shopped until she found the perfect red cashmere sweater.  The hospice team wrapped it for Laurel to give her daughter.  Susan’s eyes filled with tears when she opened the present from her mother. She was so touched that Mom, at this point in her journey, still remembered it was Christmas and was so concerned about giving this special gift. Susan wore the sweater that Christmas day and again some months later at her Mother’s memorial service. The red cashmere sweater was a very special reminder of her Mother’s love. 

… and the gift of the red sweater became so much more! Since that Christmas Day, Light Bridge Hospice Community Foundation has continued to fulfill patient’s wishes, not just at Christmastime but all year long, and has granted hundreds of gifts throughout the years since this first inspiring story about the love of a mother for her daughter and her Simple Gifts request.


Simple Gifts, just one special program of The LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation, fulfills end-of-life wishes for hospice patients. A simple gift can be anything. Often, it is as simple as a special meal or celebration of a birthday or anniversary.  Simple Gifts has also underwritten the cost of travel to help loved ones who couldn’t otherwise do so to spend precious moments together.  


Tax deductible gifts to support Simple Gifts can be made online at or mailed to LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation, 6155 Cornerstone Court East, Suite 220, San Diego, CA 92121.     


LightBridge Hospice & Palliative Care serves all of San Diego County