He was remembered during the Mahaska Health Partnership Foundation's Run in the Sun.
This year, the family of a Hospice Serenity House patient were asked to write about their experience, said MHP CEO Jay Christensen. He went on to say that T.J. Goemaat was only 10 years old when he passed away. However, T.J.'s impact on the the staff and the community is still felt today, said Christensen, adding that Aug. 3 would have been T.J.'s twelfth birthday.
T.J.'s mother, Tami, spoke before the audience at Run in the Sun Saturday morning. She expressed great appreciation for the Hospice Serenity House and its staff.
“It became our home away from home,” said Tami. “Everyone helped to make our stay be the best it could be considering the circumstances.”
Although it's been over a year since the Goemaat family left the Hospice Serenity House, Tami said every time she and her family walk through its doors, it feels like they are home again.
“Thank you just doesn't seem like enough when I think about the things that staff, volunteers and others did for our son and our family,” said Tami. “We will always cherish our time we spent there and will forever be grateful to all of those who loved and cared for our son, but also our entire family — all 37 of us.
This house and all the people in it will always have a special place in our hearts. So, I guess you could say this house is more than just a beautiful facility for those preparing to leave this world. It's a place where everyone is cared for, loved and treated like family. It's a place so many call home.”
After Tami Spoke, Christensen let those in attendance know that Tami said T.J.'s favorite color was lime green. Balloons honoring the memories of T.J. and all those who have been patients at the Hospice Serenity House were then released by those at Saturday's Run in the Sun.
Cathy Stahl, MHP Marketing and Development director, said over 225 people preregistered for the Run in the Sun. She noted that there were people registering the day of the event, as well.
Run in the Sun, now in its third year, serves as a fund raiser for the Hospice Serenity House, Stahl said.
Watch the Herald for results from Saturday's Run in the Sun.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.