By Mike Williscraft
Two sold out dinner seatings helped the team at August Restaurant achieve its goal Sunday – to raise $10,000 for McNally House Hospice.
In its fourth year, the event has proven very popular with its two menu streams. This year pitted a fine dining menu with an upscale diner-style menu…as co-owner Clayton Gillie noted, “How do you go wrong with lobster pigs in a blanket?”
It would seem one could not.
Among the crowd were members of the Mitchell family, who have been supporting the event in each of its four years.
Charlie Mitchell had had a long, difficult battle with cancer and it was a difficult choice for his family to put him in McNally House as they had cared for him at home as long as possible.
“Our dad spent the better part of a year fighting a tremendous battle with cancer. We didn’t really know what cancer it was for a long time as it seemed that there were too many questions and not enough answers,” recalled his daughter Lisa.
“As it turned out, it started with prostate cancer and it spread. As a family, including my mom, Joann, who is a nurse, we decided to care for my dad at home as long as we possibly could. He was always positive and upbeat – happy to see anyone who came to see him and he loved having visitors. “
After 10 months and numerous treatments it proved too much, and the decision was made to move Charlie to McNally House where he could receive around the clock care.
“He was there 24 hours. He died on June 18, 2009,” noted Lisa.
The decision to make the move was not hasty.
“We had visited McNally House prior to my dad going as part of our research. The palliative team, lead by Dr. Denise Marshall, encouraged us to do so. I recall having two thoughts at the time: 1) What a beautiful, warm and peaceful space; 2) It’s too pretty for people to die in.”
The most difficult part of the decision was overcoming the feeling that they had given up hope.
“The thought that you came to a place like this to wait to pass away seemed overwhelming – like you had given up once you agreed to come to the house. After our tour with (executive director) Pam Blackwood – although still saddened by the prospect – there was much more reassurance and feelings that this was the right place when the time came. They cared about us all,” said Lisa.
“Since then so many people we know have gone through the doors of McNally House – each time I think first of the sadness then I think of how wonderfully they will be treated and it’s somehow a little easier to think about.”
“We’ve been to all four dinners held at August – each year is something new and tastier than the year before. We do this to support McNally House, as a remembrance to my Dad and, of course, because it’s such a wonderful way to spend an evening – great food, friends and wine!