Agrace's Sips and Sounds & Suds helps fund end-of-life care for local families

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

JANESVILLE—When Mark Buggs' father was hospitalized with complications from cancer, Mark knew his family couldn't give his dad the skilled care he needed at the end of his life.

When the family learned about Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care, 2901 N. Wright Road, it decided to transfer Bernard Buggs there. His stay lasted just 10 days before he died at 79.

“We knew they'd take care of him, and it was comforting to know he'd have 24-hour care,” Mark said.
Agrace allowed Mark's family the precious gift of time to spend with their Bernard.

“We got to spend his last few days enjoying our loved one instead of being the caregiver,” Mark said. He added the Agrace staff treated his father with respect and that aides and nurses provided genuine, incredible care.

Proceeds from Agrace's annual Sips and Sounds & Suds fundraiser helped make Bernard Buggs' stay at the nonprofit group's in-patient facility possible. The wine and beer tasting event directly supports patients and families facing serious or life-limiting illnesses, said Tami Kellerman, Agrace's development director.

This year's event, the 15th annual, is set for Saturday, March 11, at the Pontiac Convention Center in Janesville.

Admission includes hors d'oeuvres from more than a dozen area eateries, wine samples from Wisconsin and California wineries and distributors, samples of beer from Wisconsin-based distributors and breweries and live music.

Sips and Sounds & Suds also will feature live and silent auctions, a raffle and a popular wine pull in which guests can randomly select covered bottles of wine for $25 each or two for $40. After pulling their wine bottles, winners can reveal the selections they will take home. Some bottles are valued at $5 while others are worth up to $200.

“It's the luck of the draw,” Kellerman said.

Participants also can bid on such items as a four-bottle vertical wine sampling from Steve Kerchoff, a family fall harvest dinner at Arndt farm, a date night for a year package, a piece of jewelry from Madelyn Co. and more, she said.

As for food, the lineup includes fare from local restaurant and catering favorites such as The Italian House, Luke's Deli and Best Events, plus bakery and grocery store goodies, Kellerman said.

“We have a great variety, and they bring plenty of samples, so come hungry,” she said. “There's no need to go out to dinner before this event.”

Kellerman sees the fundraiser as a great way  for guests to mingle while enjoying live music, good food and beverages—all while interacting with wine enthusiasts, beer brewers and chefs or owners of popular restaurants.

“It's a chance for (attendees) to learn about the food, beer or wine they are tasting and the vendors,” she said.

Kellerman said she is excited to have booked Gary the Band, a local trio known for a diverse music selection featuring classical, pop, folk and more. The group has never before played Sips and Sounds & Suds, she said.

Sips and Sounds & Suds has evolved from a small wine and cheese tasting event that raised $8,000 in 2003 to become one of Agrace's most popular and successful fundraisers, Kellerman said. Its purpose, however, remains the same.

“It's to raise dollars to help Agrace provide exceptional end-of-life care to local patients and families when they are facing a serious or life-limiting illness,” she said.

For that, Mark Buggs is grateful.

“I'd want anybody in my position to have the care for their loved one my dad got,” he said.

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