Hospice house opens in center of the city

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The new house is larger than other homes in the Roanoke neighborhood on Southwest Trafficway. It has twelve suites, two family rooms with screened porches and even an outdoor Chapel. The new Saint Luke's Hospice House will be home for individuals and their loved ones in the last days of life, or when patients need symptoms stabilized so they can return to their own homes.

Larry McMullen feels especially at home in the indoor chapel with its altar made from a gorgeous oak tree that had to be removed to make way for the house. The chapel is named for his wife, Marilyn.

"It's lovely. Sure, I feel her presence there. I do," says McMullen.

Marilyn McMullen had been on the planning committee for the hospice house when she became ill with cancer and died in 2008.

"They asked me to step into her shoes, and I couldn't do that. They were too big to fill," says Larry McMullen.

But he did his part by co-chairing the capital campaign and raising four million dollars to help make his wife's dream a reality.

The Saint Luke's Hospice Director says it's a unique story and yet it represents all patients and their families.

"He walked that end-of-life journey," says Carol Quiring.

The family received hospice care in their home.

"And the miracle it provides. It replaces the foreboding of death with the comfort and support," says McMullen.

Now, many others will have that in the new Saint Luke's Hospice House. An invitation-only grand opening will be held Friday.

The public is invited to an open house on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 3516 Summit Street, Kansas City, Mo. (south of 35th Street on the west side of Southwest Trafficway).

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