Alamo, CA - The seemingly impossible was made possible by Hospice of the East Bay staff this past April. Lorice French, a Bruns House patient, and her family were “transported” through technology 800 miles to Chandler, Arizona where her dear friend, Grammy award winner Roberta Flack, was performing a concert in her honor.

“It was a day that we will always remember,” said Bhawin Mistry, Director of Hospice’s Information Technology (IT) Department and Greg Thomas, IT Specialist, “It was an honor to have the ability to grant Mrs. French’s dying wish.”

The technology already existed; it was the fine tuning that required some work. Bruns House has a wireless network available for guests to use to connect to the internet. Skype is an online service that allows our patients to connect with family members and friends around the globe who are unable to visit in person. This video and voice calling program can be used by anyone at Bruns House with the appropriate software on their laptop computer.

Early in the afternoon on the day of the concert Bhawin and Greg set up a laptop equipped with a camera in Mrs. French’s room. It was vital that everything was prepared before the 8:00 pm concert.

“There were some glitches: the wireless network in Phoenix kept cutting out, but we managed to overcome the problem and make the connection,” remarked Bhawin.

Lorice French and Roberta Flack were college roommates at Howard University in Washington DC, fifty-six years ago. They were Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters, bonded forever by the close friendship that was developed during their undergraduate years together.

“Mrs. French and Roberta were able to talk before the concert while Roberta was rehearsing in preparation for the show. A laptop was set up on the piano onstage where they could see each other,” noted Greg. “After the concert they spoke again and said their final goodbyes. Mrs. French beamed with joy, her radiant smile lit up the room. That smile meant everything to me. It makes working for Hospice of the East Bay worthwhile.”