Ted Lieu Honored with Public Service Award at Anam Cara
On Sunday, February 15, a pre-opening Open House at Anam Cara invited guests to visit and tour the progress of the tiny, six-bed hospice—two at full price (comparable to board and care homes in the area), two at an adjusted rate and two community beds free of charge—that will accommodate terminal patients (up to a two-month prognosis) and their families.
“Today,” said CEO, Dr. Mitcheal Metzner, “is about where we have been and where we are now. When we started, the most important part of our vision was not about beds but what the environment would be. It was Topanga. The house has gone through many changes and has become the space we hoped it would be.
“To get us through the next phase, we have temporarily opened it up as an Air B&B and the house is packed,” Metzner said. “The community also uses the space frequently, we use it for our quarterly Hospice Volunteer and Professional Training classes and the Twilight Brigade, a 501 (c) 3, whose objective is providing and standardizing end-of-life care for Veterans, will be training here soon, as well.” (thetwilightbrigade.com)
Meanwhile, Metzner concedes that “the biggest challenge for establishing Anam Cara as a hospice that will operate under license by the Los Angeles Department of Social Services, is raising the funds to comply with licensing requirements and having the house ready for guests to stay here for 90 days. That requires $20,000 in the bank. When that happens, the next event will be the actual Open House (date TBA),” Mitchner said.
The Centerpiece of the day was the presentation of Anam Cara’s first Public Service Award to U. S. Congressman Ted Lieu, recently elected to replace Henry Waxman who retired last year. Lieu was selected to receive the inaugural Anam Cara Public Service Award because of his longstanding commitment to protecting Social Security and Medicare which advances the interests of the elderly and end-of-life care community. Most notably, Congressman Lieu authored legislation restricting the disruption of funerals by protesters (SB 661) while in the California State Senate. This evidences an interest in protecting the rights of the deceased and their families during a critical moment in their lives (and death!)."
Lieu was introduced by actor Barry Bostwick who garnered many laughs as he tried in vain to compare his acting resume to Lieu’s substantial accomplishments academically, in the military and as a legislator.
“He has done so much,” Bostwick said once he ran through a litany of Lieu’s résumé. He then presented him with the award, a plaque created by local ceramist Rebecca Catterall.
“That was one of the funniest introductions I’ve ever had,”Lieu said, taking the mic from Bostwick. “Thank you, Barry. Thank you, Mitch. This is an amazing place. I’ve always had an interest in end-of-life care.”
On January 6, at his swearing-in ceremony as the Representative of California’s 33rd Congressional District, Lieu, who served California for nine years, first in the Assembly and then the Senate, said he would continue to fight for core democratic values, especially Social Security and Medicare: “I will not yield when it comes to defending a woman’s right to choose, standing up for the environment and protecting Social Security and Medicare,” he said.
At Anam Cara he confirmed that vow: “When I took office, my first thing [to address] in Congress was Social Security and Medicare. My parents live on Social Security and Medicare and I’ll be damned if they’ll take that away. In fact, we’ll work to expand it,” he said.
During a question-and-answer period, Topanga resident Toni Colvin asked if he would support right-to-die legislation, reflecting on Brandy Maynard, who suffered "increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms" from brain cancer, choosing to end her life at age 29.
“In the state legislature I supported such a bill that didn’t pass and would support it again if it came to a federal bill,” Lieu said.
Metzner asked if Lieu envisioned a strategy to help end-of-life facilities such as Anam Cara. “What can we do to make more alternative homes available to people?”
“We need to raise awareness,” Lieu said. “Many people—and officials—don’t think about this. For funding, I’m happy to look into it if you give me some ideas.”
Dr Monica Williams-Murphy, an emergency physician and board member of Anam Cara, thanked Metzner for moving forwad to fill an “unmet need in L.A. County and many other areas. For those at the beginning of life, we have support systems set up but there are gaps in care for those at the end of life,” she said.
“This model rarely exists in the U.S. and we are going to create it right here. Once a month, someone calls Mitch to ask how they can do it. There’s a lot more to do. This cause will be personal for each of you here today who want to have a graceful and dignified end to your life.”
For more information or to donate, contact the Los Angeles Hospice at Anam Cara: (310) 455-0419. Anamcarela.org.
DISTRICT SWEARING-IN CEREMONY, MARCH 1
On Sunday, March 1, Congressman Lieu invites constituents to meet him and his staff at Royce Hall at the University of California, Los Angeles for the District Swearing-In Ceremony at 2 p.m. followed by a reception where you can talk with his team and learn about the different services his office provides.
There will be a special introduction by actor Tim Robbins, musical performances and remarks from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressman Xavier Becerra and other elected officials and special guests.
Please RSVP at: https://eventsrsvp.ucla.edu/RSVPRepTedLieu.
In Lieu’s statement he writes:
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the new Member of Congress representing California’s 33rd Congressional District. I am following in the great legacy of Henry Waxman and look forward to serving you as he did.
“This is an amazing district, with beautiful coastlines, mountains, and many of Southern California’s signature industries, such as biotech, aerospace, technology, tourism, and entertainment. I have served you in the California State Assembly and State Senate for the past nine years, and I look forward to continuing to fight for you in the United States House of Representatives.
“Representative democracy requires the free exchange of ideas between the people and their representatives. I need to hear your concerns and I would like to communicate my views to you. Please visit my webpage atwww.lieu.house.gov to sign up to receive periodic updates from me. You can also learn about my policy positions and the services offered at my District Offices.”