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New Book by Fishers Offers Insights from Hospice Patients

Authors to Sign Books at Davis-Kidd Thurs., May 22, 7 p.m.; Percentage of authors’ royalties to go to Alive Hospice
FishersBobNJudyforWeb.jpgDr. Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and his wife, Judy, are releasing, Life is a Gift: Inspiration from the Soon Departed (FaithWords, Hachette Book Group USA), on May 20, 2008, featuring a collection of interviews and lessons learned from 104 terminally ill patients of Alive Hospice in Nashville. FaithWords will hold a book signing for the Fishers at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville, Green Hills Mall, on Thurs., May 22 at 7 p.m.
During the course of their interviews, the Fishers spoke with a wide range of terminal patients of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Though each person had a unique story, each accepted death as an unavoidable fact. All of the 104 patients the Fishers interviewed have since died.
“We wanted to glean the wisdom of those who are ‘near-to-death,’” the Fishers wrote in Life is a Gift. “You’ve heard stories of people who have a near-death experience and change their way of thinking about the world… In our talking to the soon-departed, it was our goal to have an experience of being ‘near-to-death’ and to see where it led us.”
LIAGcoverforWeb.JPGAlive Hospice President and CEO Janet Jones said, “When I read this book, I was so inspired by the messages the people we were privileged to serve left with us. What a gift this book is to all of us about how to live our lives to the fullest. Bob and Judy Fisher’s ability to lovingly be present during these conversations and allow the individuals to express their core feelings and then grasp them in the story is nothing short of miraculous.”
Twenty-five percent of the authors’ royalties will go to Alive Hospice, www.alivehospice.org.
The conversations with patients like 5-year-old Maddie or the 98-year-old man who spent his last weeks learning Hungarian followed a standard question-and-answer formula: What are you most proud of? What has been your greatest joy? What has been your greatest disappointment? What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done? What do you regret? What comes next for you? If you could give one message to the world, what would it be?


According to the Fishers, the common themes that emerged throughout the interview process were family, faith, forgiveness and gratitude. It is a haunting yet hopeful challenge for all readers to begin a purposeful existence. Moreover, the insights of the dying could prove especially beneficial to those in the medical profession whose main objective is to heal those who are ailing and view death as a negative outcome.
Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support and spiritual resources for people who are in the last stages of a terminal illness. Hospice treatment aims to keep patients comfortable and improve quality of life, shifting medical goals from curative to palliative care.
“This book is a great gift, one that I plan to use in the education of our future physicians as they struggle with helping their patients face terminal illnesses,” said Dr. John Sergent, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Life is a Gift goes on sale nationally on May 20 and is available wherever books are sold.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Dr. Bob Fisher has previously served at universities in the roles of professor, business school dean and vice president of academic affairs and currently serves as president of Belmont University in Nashville (www.belmont.edu). He has previously co-authored the book Real Dream Teams: Seven Practices Used by World-Class Team Leaders to Achieve Extraordinary Results with Belmont’s Vice President of University Advancement, Dr. Bo Thomas. He is a Fulbright Scholar and serves in numerous volunteer roles including serving on the NCAA Division-I board and executive committee, on the board of the Nashville Symphony and as immediate past chair of the Greater Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Judy Fisher has filled the roles of mother, middle school science teacher and, currently, the campus-wide coordinator of interior construction and exterior landscaping/lighting at Belmont University. Judy conducted the large majority of the interviews for this project. She is active in community service where she serves on several non-profit boards including the American Lung Association, the Nashville Opera and, most notably, the board of Alive Hospice.

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