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Meet Diann Verdugo of Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diann Verdugo.

Diann, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am the owner of a photography business (ShotsbyDiann) in which I mainly focus on couples, graduates, family photos etc. However, through this work a more compelling story was born. In 2014, I was approached about a volunteer position as the lead photographer for a non-profit organization called Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation (PHPCF). At the time PHPCF was in its infancy and was working to develop a program called “Portraits of Love” in which they sought to offer photography sessions to hospice patients and their families. I, as a hospice nurse for the last 16 years, was up to the challenge and felt comfortable with the idea of taking photographs of those facing the end of life. As our journey continued and we received more requests for family photos, we came to realize the power and profound meaning of these photographs. These photos became unending gifts with their meaning continuing to grow over time. In 2014, the project was just a dream but after 3 years and many photo sessions we realized this compilation of photos spoke volumes about the reality of being able to live life all the way to the end. The photos told these stories. With that in mind, the Foundation made a decision, with the approval of the families that were photographed, to create a photo book, titled “Hospice Is” as a way to educate our community as we work to create a culture shift in the way we think about and approach the end of life. The bigger goal would be to share this work with a larger audience in order to effect and change the perception. The photos and images provide lessons to us all, of the importance of taking the time to spend with family and friends, of living in the moment, of respect and dignity, of comfort and compassion.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When PHPCF began to offer family portraits to terminally ill patients, not many took us seriously. But after a session or two, the patients and family responses proved to the staff that the sessions were amazing gifts. We also learned that taking photos of families who are facing the loss of a loved one can be very emotional. As I am the primary photographer, having the experience of being a seasoned nurse in the hospice industry proved to be a powerful tool.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation – what should we know?
Our mission is to partner with our community to inspire change, provide hope, and practical resources allowing those diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness to live life with dignity and purpose.

Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation (PHPCF) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization created with the vision of providing supportive services, community education and outreach to patients, families and organizations associated with hospice and palliative care. Incorporated on February 4, 2014 PHPCF is organized and operates exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. At PHPCF, we are committed to developing meaningful programs that strengthen our community’s capacity to provide dignified, quality end of life care.

PHPCF has developed programs that are designed to enrich the lives and meet the needs of the patients and families that are served. Needs that may not always be met by the Hospice agency.

Here is description of our amazing Portraits of Love program:

Portrait sessions – Being surrounded by loved ones is important when facing the end of life. Although this can be a difficult and painful time for those involved, intertwined in these moments we can also find beauty, meaning, joy and deep reflections of love. This journey is a part of our life’s story and capturing these moments can serve as a lasting tribute and meaningful remembrance where family and loved ones are concerned

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2755 S. Bristol Ave #275 Costa Mesa, CA 92626
  • Website: http://www.phpcf.org
  • Phone: 714-878-7017
  • Email: info@phpcf.org
  • Facebook: Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation


Image Credit:
Diann Verdugo

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Karen Shelnutt

    July 3, 2017 at 15:02

    What an incredible story! The feelings captured by the photos are palpable. PHPCF is to be commended for their mission and commitment for end of life care.

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