Bristlecone provides comfort to patients, families |

Bristlecone provides comfort to patients, families

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Noreen Galaba, R.N. and executive director of Bristlecone Health Services, Inc., left, Pat Giffored, R.N. and director of clinical services, office manager Jamie Farfone, and Shelly Michell, director of operations and volunteer coordinator are one of the beneficiaries of the Summit Daily's holiday fund.

SUMMIT COUNTY – A few years ago, Noreen Galaba was driving to a patient’s house in Summit County when her vehicle became stuck in the heavy snow. No matter. She parked her car, strapped on her snowshoes and proceeded on foot to the patient’s home with chemotherapy treatment in a backpack. The patient suffered from Hodgkin’s disease and required a daily 4-hour chemotherapy session, which Galaba administered in his home. Galaba, executive director for Bristlecone Health Services in Frisco, started as a field nurse with the organization. She continues to deliver care to patients, because she believes it’s the most rewarding and integral aspect of her job.”It’s an honor when someone invites you into their home at such a delicate time,” Galaba said. “It’s the most powerful experience I’ve ever had in my life.”Bristlecone Health Services is a nonprofit organization serving Summit County that provides medical support services promoting health, independence and education.

Bristlecone provides a variety of services including hospice care, home health care and meal delivery. The hospice program offers support services for terminally ill patients who have 6 months or less to live and their families.Bristlecone’s home health program provides clinical services and therapy to both adults and children. Home health clients include children with disabilities, post-surgical patients and those with terminal illness.The Mountain Meals program provides a nutritious meal to people who are homebound with physical, mental or economic needs. Volunteers pick up meals donated from area restaurants and deliver them to those in need.All services Bristlecone offers are free of charge to patients. Medicaid covers some of the cost, but costs are mostly covered by donations.

According to Galaba, a visit typically costs $90, and Medicaid covers $60. On average Bristlecone loses between $30 and $40 a visit.Bristlecone Health Services is one of the beneficiaries of the Summit Daily News Holiday Fund, a fundraising campaign that helps nonprofits and other good causes do their work in the community during the holiday season.”The holidays are the hardest time, because we’ve used up most of our grants,” Galaba said.She notes, however, that financial need for the organization continues throughout the year and not just at Christmas. The nonprofit applies for grants, receives general donations and holds fundraisers like the Tree of Memories in December.”Without general donations and the support of the community, we wouldn’t be able to operate year-round,” Galaba said.

Ruth Haley has been supporting the organization by volunteering her time since 1996. She does clerical work and fills in when the office manager is not available. Haley also has helped with hospice patients, sitting with them to give the family some respite, and she delivers meals to homebound patients.”I just feel like it’s a great cause,” Haley said. “It makes me feel good to know I can help out in this way.”Bristlecone currently has 80 volunteers but is always in need of more. To volunteer, call (970) 668-5604.For more information, visit the organization’s new website to the Summit Daily News Holiday Fund can be made through Dec. 31.

Individuals or organizations can send a check to Holiday Fund, Summit Daily News, P.O. Box 329, Frisco, CO 80443, or donations can be made in person at the newspaper at 40 W. Main St., in Frisco.Donors can specify if they want the donation to go to a particular agency.To donate money directly to Bristlecone, send funds to Bristlecone Health Services, P.O. Box 1327, Frisco 80443.Jennifer Huffman can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at

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