Peggy Cosner has cancer. She’s no longer in remission, and planning for whatever is next has weighed heavy on her mind.
“We all think we’re indestructible, but the truth is we just aren’t,” says Cosner, who works as a front entrance receptionist at Goodwill Industries in Menasha.
She says playing a game called, “Hello Let’s Talk, Fox Valley,” with her co-workers helped her open up about her journey and her wishes.
“Hello” is a fun, interactive discussion activity developed by Common Practice that helps players get personal about their final wishes by asking a series of about 30 thought-provoking questions.
Goodwill invited a dozen employees to a lunch-and-learn session in December to play the game.
“This actually was very good for me, because now I’m very sure about what it is that I need to do, and it makes me feel good to know that I’m not floundering quite as bad as I was,” Cosner says.
Ellen Koski is hoping to get more people to play Hello through the Fox Valley Advance Care Planning Partnership, a collaboration of organizations working together to make these conversations easier.
She says research on the game’s use — in groups of both healthy players and those with chronic illnesses — has shown that it was a well-received, positive experience for participants, with 75 percent creating advance care planning documents within three months of playing the game.
“This is truly culture change, helping people become comfortable with an uncomfortable topic,” says Koski, director of Fox Valley Advance Care Planning Partnership. “It helps players learn how to communicate their end-of-life wishes so that their loved ones will know how to honor them.”
The lunch-and-learn session at Goodwill was a success, and the Hello game is now a part of Goodwill’s wellness program for staff.
“This session was the first of three parts in which we are going to help our team members work through competing their advance care directive document,” says Jeff Stieg, health and wellness specialist for Goodwill. “I would highly recommend this exercise. Ellen did a great job facilitating at no cost, and our team members are really excited about this program.”
The Partnership purchased 500 games, thanks to a $2,500 Spark Grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.
“This grant is enabling us to provide a starting point to engage our community in these vital conversations within church groups, multiple worksites, and community interest groups,” Koski says.
For more information, contact Ellen Koski at the Fox Valley Advance Care Planning Partnership.
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