The Spirit of Giving

An annual golf tournament in memory of Nancy Renyhart is raising thousands of dollars to support dementia education in the community.

Jim Hilty Jr., Brian Hilty and Jim Hilty Sr.

There is no sweeter sound than the solid “thwack” of a perfectly-hit tee shot—except, that is, for the sweet “cha-ching” of money being raised for a great cause. 

On January 29th, the third annual Spirit of Hospice Golf Tournament at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club attracted 184 golfers who teed off and helped raise $131,365. The event was sponsored by Pinnacle Retirement Advisors to benefit the Nancy Renyhart Dementia Education Program at Hospice of Marion County. The Spirit of Hospice award honoree was Ocala City Councilman Jim Hilty Sr., who is a member of the HMC board of directors. 

The Nancy Renyhart Dementia Education Program, formerly known as the Nancy Renyhart Center for Dementia Education, currently is based at HMC’s Elliott Center at 3231 SW 34th Avenue, Ocala. The executive director is Lanie Shirey. 

Shirey shares that the HMC board of directors has decided to repurpose and renovate the former Estelle’s Hospice House at 2897 SE 62nd Street, Ocala, and the program will relocate to that venue. 

“The facility will include an adult day care center, caregiver skills lab, sensory room, library, Virtual Dementia Tour training room and education center and will be the home for the Nancy Renyhart Dementia Education Program,” Shirey explains.

Since its inception in January 2021, the program has provided dementia education to more than 8,500 people. The program offers dementia caregiver workshops and to date more than 400 caregivers have attended. In partnership with Arts in Health, the program hosts monthly Memory Cafes, during which caregivers and their loved ones can participate in group discussions “while using expressive arts to encourage creativity and connections, resulting in more positive interactions,” Shirey notes.

Rick Borne, Gary and Dawn Crawford

John and Nancy Renyhart met at college in New York and married in 1965. He was an administrator with nonprofit organizations, and she was a substitute teacher and merchandiser with a pharmaceutical company. They retired to Ocala in 2006. Nancy was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in 2011 and with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. She passed away April 30, 2020. John became a trained HMC volunteer and member of the Philanthropic Advisory Board and established the Nancy Renyhart Endowment for Dementia Education.

Gary Crawford, co-owner of Pinnacle Retirement Advisors with his wife, Dawn, became acquainted with the Renyharts when they first came to the area.

“John and Nancy became clients of mine back in 2006 when they moved to Ocala. Over the years of being their advisor, I walked along the journey of Nancy’s battle with Alzheimer’s. I learned how physically and emotionally demanding caregiving can be, and I realized that no caregiver should have to walk the journey alone,” Gary offers.

“The Nancy Renyhart Center for Dementia Education holds a special place in my heart,” he shares. “This is why my wife, Dawn, and our team at Pinnacle Retirement Advisors hold our annual Spirit of Hospice golf tournament each year. This tournament supports this amazing resource that we have right here in our backyard. Our goal is to raise awareness about the center and how it can help families in our community. Over the past three years, we have raised over $216,000 to help fund the center. The fourth annual Spirit of Hospice Golf Tournament is scheduled for January 27th, 2025, at Golden Ocala, where we’re hoping to raise an additional $300,000.”

John Renyhart, Lanie Shirey and D.J. Ryan

“We are grateful to our community and our supporters such as Pinnacle Retirement Advisors who have held these fundraisers over the years to help us meet the needs of the families we serve,” says HMC CEO Rick Bourne. “These fundraisers support our mission to provide full life care and we simply couldn’t do everything we do without them.”

Hilty, who has served as an HMC volunteer board member in many capacities, including two years as president, says he was humbled to receive the Spirit of Hospice Award, “not just for self-recognition, but to hopefully shed some light of the center for dementia education we will be building to help the citizens we serve have another avenue for support with this terrible disease.”

“I have had a first-hand experience with this as my mother was diagnosed and lived for several years, causing challenges for the family,” Hilty adds. “Along with my mother, I have had experiences with my wife as well as my father all receiving hospice care. I have been blessed to have received their services for my family members and continue to look for ways to give back and support the organization.”

HMC will offer dementia caregiver workshops on April 4th, May 22nd and June 22nd at the Elliott Center in Ocala. Register by calling (352) 291-5138. OS

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Posted in Community Spotlight, Living

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