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Blog: Stories and Insight

Candlemaker and Samaritan Caregiver Gives Back To Samaritan

Barbara was deeply loved by all in her family – Richard, Rich, and Kirstin DeWitt – for her generosity and big heart. “She was my best friend,” shares her daughter Kirstin DeWitt. Her passing in 2019, left an indelible mark on the family she loved deeply as well as the Marlton community in which she was active.

Barbara’s sudden diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure and rapidly progressing Stage 4 Lung Cancer came after seven years of living with blood disease. As her illnesses progressed and Barbara necessitated advanced care and symptom relief, her doctor recommended hospice. In need of round-the-clock care, Barbara was brought to The Samaritan Center at Voorhees. At the Center’s 24/7 inpatient unit’s home-like environment, the DeWitt family felt welcomed by staff and were put at ease by their hospitality.

The DeWitt family immediately began to feel at home in the “warm and inviting” environment, referring to staff as “life savers” as they helped the family navigate the final, tender moments of Barbara’s life. “I don’t know how we would have made it through without Samaritan’s kindness.” At the Samaritan Center, the family was able to stay with Barbara and were pleased to see her treated with care and compassion.

Barbra DeWitt and Kirstin DeWitt

As Barbara took her last breath, Kirstin was there to hold her hand. It is a moment that she admits will be in her heart forever. “I didn’t want her to be by herself,” Kirstin said tearing up. Being present for her felt like a small token of thanks for her mom’s care and dedication to her and their family. “It meant the world to me,” she continued with emotion.

Four years later, Kirstin partnered with Samaritan in the annual Tree of Life Celebration. Jersey Girl Candles, founded by Kirstin, designed custom candles and labels to give to attendees. Barbara, especially her work ethic and her love for New Jersey, was a big inspiration in starting the business, and was always one of Kirstin’s biggest cheerleaders. Kirstin’s return to Samaritan is a full circle moment. The Tree of Life ceremony is a beautiful event that brings the community together to honor the life of lost loved ones. It felt significant to Kirstin to be able to be of service to other families as they honor those they love.

Kristin holding custom Jersey Girl Candle

For Kirstin, the reward of creating aromas and scents is witnessing the joy it brings others. It is a pleasure to be “making something that makes somebody else happy or relaxes them.” The Jack Frost Vanilla Peppermint scent created for the Tree of Life is an uplifting happy scent designed to help each of us remember the good times and love we have for those we’ve lost.

Four years after her mother’s passing, Kirstin continues to share how much Samaritan’s expertise and “kindness” helped her family as they navigated their final days with Barbara.