By Brenda Moore
Loving daughter and Riviera Day School VPK Teacher

Riviera Day School Holiday Gifts pic - Cropped

Dianne McDonald and her daughter, Brenda Moore, drop off Moore’s class’ gifts for Suncoast Hospice families.

My family and I lost our beloved husband, Daddy and “Popo” (grandfather) – William F. McDonald – to prostate cancer on January 30, 1999. He was a man devoted to his family; his wife, Dianne; three daughters, Debbie, Kim and myself; and granddaughters, Brandi, Dia and Jessica. He gave of himself not only to his “girls” but to anyone in need. Throughout our life, Daddy taught by example, that doing and giving for others was part of each day.

We owned a variety store, Isle Varieties, on Madeira Beach. Each Christmas and at other times, Daddy would let my sisters and I go up and down our store aisles and choose items to donate to various organizations. Back then, it usually was our local fire department giving to families in need. We especially enjoyed choosing toys for families.

Daddy was always available to neighbors or family members who needed a hand in any way. What made such an impact on me was how willingly he gave, expecting nothing in return. Each year he cut small wooden teddy bears, which I decorated and turned in to magnets as Christmas gifts to my Riviera Day School VPK class. The last Christmas he was with us, he knew it would be his last and surprised me with a set of teddy bears he had cut a few months before he had become bedridden.

When we lost Daddy, I made a promise to myself to keep his spirit of giving alive in my classroom of four-year-olds. I decided to donate to the organization that took angelic care of him and our family during a very difficult time. Suncoast Hospice was at our beckon call in many ways as we helped Daddy through his last few months. They helped guide us through this incredibly sad time.

As a loving tribute to Daddy, each year since his death, I’ve asked my students’ families to help Suncoast Hospice families in need during the holidays, in the same way Daddy taught us to help others. My mom and I then deliver the donations of toys to Suncoast Hospice to give to the families they serve. This past year was the 16th year, and with each delivery we feel Daddy’s presence. It’s a time of overwhelming emotion but we know it’s something he’d be proud to be part of.

Thank you, Suncoast Hospice, for all you gave to our dad and family along with everything you continue to do for the many families turning to your organization when compassion and end-of-life health care are so desperately needed.

Have you been touched by hospice and want to give back? Please consider donating to our Suncoast Hospice Foundation today. Your gift will make a difference.