Hearts & Hands of Kittitas County (formerly Hospice Friends) was established in 1983 by two courageous and driven women who came together to provide volunteer support for the terminally ill.
Hospice care was just beginning to be accepted as a medical practice in the United States when two visionary women, Peg Rowbotham and Enid Gage, made it a reality in Kittitas County. The two, long-time, community members were drawn together by a common cause: to help individuals and families facing the end of life. Enid had watched her sister lose her husband to cancer; Peg, a cancer outreach coordinator for Kittitas Valley Community (the hospital at that time), saw people with terminal cancer daily. Many of the people Peg saw had nowhere to turn for emotional, physical, and financial support when their doctor told them they had less than six months to live.
Peg and Enid wanted to fill this gap in the community and provide resources to help people at end of life—believing strongly that quality of life was vitally important when the quantity of life was limited.
Peg and Enid have both physically left this world, but their legend and heart live on every day in the operations of Hearts & Hands of Kittitas County.
Peg Rowbotham & Enid Gage, Hospice Friends Founders
Peg Rowbotham and Enid Gage, set forth to establish Hospice of Kittitas County in 1983 to provide Respite Volunteer services, Bereavement, and limited wound care for the terminally ill. Hospice of Kittitas County served the community independently until 1996 when we changed our name to Hospice Friends and partnered with, now Kittitas Valley Home Health and Hospice, to provide volunteer and bereavement services. Hospice Friends grew into a much larger organization and offers services for all community members experiencing health ailments in Kittitas County and have continued our service of providing volunteers and supplies to KVHHH Hospice patients. In 2022, we created the trade name, Hearts & Hands of Kittitas County to operate to represent all of the services we offer to Kittitas County. We now serve consistently over 2400 individuals and families per year providing over $850,000 of services and supplies to residents of Kittitas County, free of charge.
Hearts & Hands of Kittitas County (formerly Hospice Friends) provides respite volunteers to help patients, along with their family and friends, to focus on what is most important to them – allowing people to spend time together, share memories, say goodbyes, find peace or care for one another. Our volunteers provide activities for clients and family members as well, which may include games, art projects, and writing letters to family members. There is no question, end-of-life is the most difficult stage of life for clients and their loved ones, yet many families report that Hearts & Hands of Kittitas County helped them to care for their loved ones and find meaning and even joy in the final days of life. We are here beside you for every step of your journey into the final stages of life.
Paolo 'Pao" Esguerra
“Hearts & Hands of Kittitas County is the best-kept secret in Kittitas County. If anyone needs incontinence supplies, durable medical equipment, or a trained and trusted volunteer, we are the place to go!” – Hearts & Hands of Kittitas County Client
Bridget Wood, Program Administrator
Caitie Medina, Office/Volunteer Coordinator
Paolo Esguerra, Client Services Rep Lower County
Jackie Vaughn, Client Services Rep Upper County
Hideki Takei, President & Treasurer
Rhonda Holden, Vice-President
Nancy Gore, Secretary
Lem Cannonier, Member
Suzie Norris, Member
Bob Burke, Member
Henry Johnston, Member
James Choe, Member
Barbara Becker, Lifetime Member