Isaacs carries on wife’s legacy by donating

Donor Spotlight: Steve Isaacs; picture of Steve with sunglasses in a red shirt.

Steve Isaacs lost his wife when she was 40, and they had no viable options outside of the hospital for her final days. But now, with the staff and volunteers at Caring Hearts and Hands, Isaacs does his part to give back to help others in the same situation, carrying on her legacy.

Can you tell us a bit about your life? Work? Family? 

I am from South Dakota, originally.  At least that is where I lived the longest (my father was in the Air Force). I graduated from SEMO and then from Mizzou Law School. I practiced law for about seven-and-a-half years before leaving to work with my best friend’s advertising company, where I’ve been working for the past 17 or so years.  I have a 15-year-old son named Vince.

How did you learn about Caring Hearts and Hands? 

I was previously married, and my wife Stephanie sadly passed away from breast cancer at the age of 40. We would have loved to have a place for her to spend her final days rather than a hospital, but there were no viable options.  

After her passing, I met and began dating Theresa Rardin, who coincidentally was involved with CHHC. That is what introduced me to the organization. I wanted to be able to honor Stephanie, but also help others who are in her unfortunate situation. I feel like I am carrying on her legacy when I am able to help at CHHC.

What draws you to the organization’s mission? 

Mainly the fact that I have been in the exact same situation as the families they serve today. I know how unbelievably difficult it is. To have an organization that helps take care of one of the most anxiety-producing parts of that journey—the end-of-life stage—is very important.

What is the most rewarding part about CHHC?

Knowing that they are taking some of the burden off of the families, while also often times fulfilling the patient’s desire not to die in a hospital.  

Lights for Love

Join us for our third Lights for Love Memorial Event on Oct. 28, 2023 at Cosmo-Bethel Park. This beautiful evening is an opportunity to honor and remember someone you love while giving back to those in hospice care in our community.

Luminaries will be available for purchase now and at check-in the day of the event. All proceeds will be used to support our home in Columbia for those who are under hospice care, in the last 30 days of life, and in need of caregiver support.

We are also looking for businesses and community members to sponsor the event. Visit to give today, or reach out to with questions.

Oncologist, fiction-writer and friend

Donor Spotlight: Tungesvik

Dr. Mark Tungesvik, an oncologist with Missouri Cancer Associates, is no stranger to end-of-life care.

According to Tungesvik, oncology is one of the biggest referrers to palliative care where founders, Dorreen Rardin and Jackie Reed worked. He sees the need for Caring Hearts and Hands in our community.

“We will be treating people who are older and living alone. It’s not optimal, and as they get sicker, you’re in a pickle. For some, there’s not a lot of social support, and hospice can’t assist if the patient is alone. There are nursing homes, but that isn’t optimal. It could be a warm, loving place, but many patients don’t see it that way. I do think this is an unmet need.”

“There isn’t much small talk in the office,” Tungesvik says. “Once cancer patients have a diagnosis, their life changes. If it’s terminal, their perspective on life changes. And we form a real relationship. Working with the patients is the best part. That’s what I like, and that’s why I do it.”

But Tungesvik doesn’t stop at medical cancer treatments. He’s also nearing the end of a seven-year project, writing a trilogy of therapeutic fiction. This three-book series is meant to help those struggling more than just physically.

“Some people will have developed a dark worldview, and it’s hard to work out of that. So, I put together this series. It’s not just about providing for a person’s physical needs. They have to turn the corner emotionally and intellectually so they can have some hope. These books are about doing that.”

“I’ve been writing the Song of the Bear trilogy for nearly seven years, but I’m coming to the end of it. I’m going over what may be the final draft. I’ll be sending to a self-publisher soon.”

Song of the Bear Book Cover
A Ship called Eros Book Cover

Lights for Love Recap

Inaugural event raises more than $8,000

More than five hundred lights brightened the night on November 6. More than a hundred donors purchased luminaries to memorialize their loved ones.

Lighting the night with love

With donor support, we can light up the night at Stephens Lake Park on Nov. 6 as part of its inaugural fundraising event – Lights for Love: A Memorial Event.

This memorial event gives people an opportunity to purchase a luminary to honor their loved one and help raise funds to open a home in Columbia for those who are under hospice care, in the last month of life, and in need of caregiver support.

Lights for Love November 6

“We wanted to put together a fundraiser for the community that could be meaningful,” said Jackie Reed, treasurer, and co-founder for Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia. “This is an opportunity to heal as a community after nearly two years of extremely difficult times for many of us.”

Community members can purchase a luminary to display at Stephens Lake Park on Nov. 6 at 5:30 p.m. Each luminary can be purchased for a minimum donation of $10.

The event will include music and will allow loved ones to spend time with others who have lost loved ones and remember their influence in our lives.

Lights for Love Memorial Event
Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021
Gordon Shelter – Stephens Lake Park

Check-in: 5:30 p.m., Gordon Shelterhouse
Luminaries on Display: 5:45 – 6:45 p.m.
Program & Music: 6 p.m.

A giant leap forward

Caring Hearts and Hands is another step closer to opening a home for those in need of end-of-life care. The employees of Veterans United Home Loans, through their charitable non-profit Veterans United Foundation, have contributed $10,000 toward our goal.

“This donation will most certainly get us closer to opening our doors,” said Jackie Reed, Cofounder of Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia. “I can’t wait to serve the people in Columbia who will be in need of our services.”

Caring Hearts and Hands was founded as a 501c3 nonprofit by Jackie Reed and Doreen Rardin, who worked together as palliative care nurses. They worked with people as they were at the end of their lives, and knew there were some who had no family or friends to care for them. And many were unable to pay for nursing care. They needed a safe and comforting place to spend their last days, without financial worries.

This gift is exciting for every board member and volunteer who has worked toward this goal, including Patrick Lee, board chair, who knows this gift puts them that much closer to their ultimate goal.

“When we open our first home in Columbia, we will be able to provide a place where the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our guests and their families are met with compassion, love and respect,” said Lee.

Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia is accepting donations toward its goal to open a home to care for those at the end of their lives. Any contribution is greatly appreciated.