More than a store: 'Who knows where we're going with this'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Dario Lapoma was just 12 years old when he lost his father to Thyroid cancer.

He said his initial reaction frustrated him.

"I just remember feeling nothing at all," he recalled. "A complete lack."

That's a common reaction to grief.

Lapoma said it took him almost a decade to realize that.

The 4-day-long Courageous Kids Summer Camp was one of the tools he used to overcome losing his father.

The camp is a beneficiary of a thrift shop in Springfield set up to support hospice - end-of-life care - and related services.

From the outside, "Hearts for Hospice" looks like just another resale store.

However, those inside say the shop is so much more.

"It's about education for end of life, it's about outreach to the community," said Martie Blodget, a member of the Hearts for Hospice Board of Directors. "It's about palliative care. Who knows where we're going with this thing."

The storefront celebrated its first anniversary last week.

It operates through donations and volunteers, many of whom were previously beneficiaries.

Annie Foster started volunteering 2 years ago after losing her husband.

"I'm sorry to inform you that your husband has 4 to 7 days to live," the doctors told Foster. "It was wonderful to facilitate that in our home."

She said hospice helped her through the process. "Any concern that I had, I could call hospice 24/7, and they were there," Foster said.

Hearts for Hospice also sponsors Courageous Kids, specifically their summer camp. The program offers an outlet for children like Lapoma who have lost someone close.

Lapoma continues to go back to Courageous Kids as a councilor to help others.

"Essentially, we're setting up a space," he said of the camp. "It's about as supporting and nurturing as any I've come in contact with."