In 1978 few knew the word hospice. Fewer still recognized its potential to alleviate suffering. But one woman held a vision of what this philosophy of care could mean to her community. This nurse, Betty Bulen, invited three of her friends, Betty Benz, Ann Elizabeth Warren and the late Kay Austin, to work with her in establishing an organization of compassionate volunteers devoted to offering care to the terminally ill and their families. To strengthen their vision, Betty Bulen and Betty Benz paid a visit to St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. Inspired, they came home to organize the first agency meeting and develop an inaugural Board of Directors.
They named this new entity recognizing that not only did each of them have “Elizabeth” as part of their names, but that the name means “devotion to God’s service.” Following incorporation later that year, they offered their first volunteer training. The strength of their vision attracted others and in less than a year, 20 hospice volunteers were meeting the special needs of 8 patients in North San Diego County.
Clearly this was a young organization which meant business. They carried their model of hospice care to ever-increasing numbers of families, energetically fund raising and educating the community. Betty Bulen visited Washington, D.C. and enrolled The Elizabeth Hospice as a founding member of the newly organized National Hospice Organization. The founders and the Board were thrilled to receive federal non-profit status less than a year after incorporating.
"We encourage people to live, really live, before they die. People think that hospice is about dying, but it’s really about celebrating life.”
– Betty Bulen, Founder of The Elizabeth Hospice
To enhance the quality of life of those nearing the end of life’s journey and for those who grieve.
The Elizabeth Hospice aspires to a world in which every life ends with compassion, dignity, and peace.