elderly woman sitting in cushioned chair next to a Christmas tree

Marly’s Story

Marlys Bolin of Dysart has almost a decade of camaraderie with Cedar Valley Hospice. Alongside our team, she’s shared laughs, hugs and tears. For her, Cedar Valley Hospice is a gift, “like family.”


In 2007, she lost her husband, Bruce, who suffered from polymyositis, a rare inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness. After years of watching her husband, a retired deputy sheriff, struggle with a condition for which there is no cure, Marlys reached out to her physician for some answers. Because Cedar Valley Hospice has a reputation of providing comfort, a better quality of life and support for caregivers, the physician’s nurse recommended she reach out.


“We were petrified about how we could care for him and keep him at home – which was our family’s wish,” said Marlys. “With all the wonderful help from Cedar Valley Hospice and God, our wishes were fulfilled. Everybody on the team was so pleasant.”


Bruce died on Aug. 18, 2007 at home with his family by his side. It was Marlys’ birthday, but she chose not to view the coincidence as an unfortunate one. “I look at it in a peaceful way,” she said. “That is what he would want.”


For almost a year following, she utilized our grief services to help her cope with Bruce’s death. It took some time to open up, but once she did, she was so grateful for the support she received. “I knew I was going to lose him, but it was still so hard,” Marlys added. “We were very much soulmates…I hated to part with him. That’s why my talks with the grief counselor were so helpful.”


As the years went on after Bruce’s death, she thought a lot about her conversations with the team members at Cedar Valley Hospice. Not only did she miss them, but she wanted to somehow pay the compassion forward that was shown to her family. So she became a volunteer for Cedar Valley Hospice, sewing labels onto quilts for patients/families and would also lend a hand in the Grundy Center office answering phones.


In September 2016, Marlys found herself on the other end of the phone, reaching out to Cedar Valley Hospice once again.


A year earlier, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and underwent dozens of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, only to find out that it had spread. By late September, Marlys decided to not undergo anymore treatments. Making the call to Cedar Valley Hospice put her mind at ease.


“Although I was still blessed with many good days, was able to do my own housework and had my children to assist when I wasn’t able to do something, I made the call myself,” said Marlys. “I knew I was going to need help down the line, and my daughter couldn’t do it all.”


Marlys enrolled in the Cedar Valley Hospice program in October and within a few days, the entire team was there to care for and support her in any way she needed. Her nurse and social worker clicked immediately with Marlys, making sure she had all the necessary supplies she needed to help manage her care at home. Visits from her volunteer kept her up on the latest town happenings while the Grundy Center Volunteer Coordinator lent a comforting ear as a confidant she had connected with when her husband was on our program. Her visits from the spiritual care counselor were her favorite.


“I’ve known Pastor Gary now for over nine years,” she said. “He’s wonderful and has a way of soothing the soul. I need that spiritual connection, and his company brings a lot of peace to my days.”


Recently, the team came together and visited Marlys at her home for the holidays. She gifted us with treats, good stories, warm hugs and a heartfelt ‘thank you.’


“I look forward to their visits and feel more comfortable knowing I have Cedar Valley Hospice by my side,” said Marlys. “They’ve given me back my quality of life with my family, and for that, I’m forever grateful.”

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