Dignity Health | Be well | Spring 2018

Sister Brenda O’Keeffe The No One Dies Alone (NODA) volunteers keep vigil at the bedsides of patients who are dying at Mercy Medical Center Redding. These patients have no family members, friends, or caregivers who are able to do so. Because of NODA, they don’t die alone. They are assured of loving spiritual and emotional support during their transition from life to death. Twenty-four people have received 550 hours of sup- port from volunteers who are not paid for their caring ministry. One NODA volunteer described her compen- sation as “funds deposited into a heart bank account that gets larger with each sacred encounter ... I am a millionaire.” A sacred spark This program all began when energetic, passionate, and orga- nized Evelyn Peterson walked into the office of Sister Brenda O’Keeffe, Vice President of Mission Integra- tion and Spiritual Care Services at Dignity Health North State. She wanted to share her enthusiasm for the idea of a NODA program. Sister NO ONE Brenda describes Peterson as a “gift from God.” Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center Redding had been actively pursuing the establishment of NODA for some time. But due to limited resources to implement the program and uncertainty about its sustainability, the process was slow. Peterson was the fuel that lit the fire. All hesitation to implement the program dissipated. The NODA program, infused with Peterson’s vivacious and can-do personality, took form at Mercy Medical Center Redding. Keeping vigil The warm thread of deep-rooted compassion for people that connects Peterson and Sister Brenda can be traced back to the tradition of keeping vigil. It follows in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the DiesAlone at MercyMedical Center Redding 22