Mike Burden and Kim Kelly Burden were married for 35 years before she died in 2014 due to breast cancer.
To honor her memory, in 2016, Burden founded the Kim Kelly Burden Foundation, which has since raised more than $100,000 for several causes, most notably for the place that helped Kelly Burden on her final journey: Carroll Hospice.
"Mike Burden was inspired by his wife's selflessness and the difference Carroll Hospice made in their lives," said Carroll Hospice spokeswoman Simone Lindsay. "He started the Kim Kelly Burden Foundation with three funds. The funds include Kim Kelly Burden Education Fund, Children's Assistance Fund, and Patient and Family Assistance Fund."
Of the friends and family that have contributed to the foundation's fundraising success, Mike said, "Their generosity amazes me. They give to help people who are facing struggles and that we may all face someday. They are Kim's heroes."
The Kim Kelly Burden Foundation has been named one of six Hospice Heroes for 2018, people and organizations recognized for their outstanding commitment to the hospice and its mission to care for and comfort people in their last six months of life.
The Times recently caught up with Mike Burden to learn more about the foundation and how it feels to have the organization set up in memory of his late wife recognized as a Hospice Hero ahead of the upcoming April 30 A Taste of Carroll fundraiser.
Q: How does it feel to be named, along with your foundation, a Hospice Hero?
A: It is an honor and privilege to represent Kim and our incredible family and friends whose generosity has exemplified all that is great in this world!
Q: Can you explain for readers who may not be familiar the origins of the foundation?
A: The Kim Kelly Burden Foundation was established to pay testimony to the incredible life Kim led and to exemplify her gift of helping anyone and everyone in need. We hold an annual fundraiser in October of each year, starting in 2016, to first and foremost celebrate Kim's life with a gathering of family and friends and to raise funds for Carroll Hospice.
Kim and I were married for 35 years, we raised four boys, and she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2010. After a fearless fight, Kim came home and entered home hospice care with Carroll Hospice in October 2014, where she passed away after a 10-day celebration of her life with family and friends.
Q: The foundation raises money for three funds: Kim Kelly Burden Education Fund, Children's Assistance Fund, and Patient and Family Assistance Fund. Can you tell us a bit about what those funds support in the community?
A: The Education Fund is to help Carroll Hospice educate families, the community and the medical profession about learning about hospice care early enough so that decisions can be made early on.
We just started the Children's Assistance Fund in 2017, and the intent is to support the wonderful Camp T.R. that Carroll Hospice hosts and to help the youth deal with the challenges of losing a loved one.
The Patient and Family Assistance Fund is to enable Carroll Hospice to help support families in need, to support care in addition to hospice, and to support making a patient's and their family's time in hospice as fulfilling as possible.
Q: How can anyone interested in donating or otherwise contributing to the efforts of the Kim Kelly Burden Foundation learn more?
A: Please contact me, Mike Burden, at email@example.com or 410-530-9534. We are having our annual fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 27, and if anyone is interested in attending, give me a shout or shoot me an email.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most at this year's A Taste of Carroll, and why should people come join you there?
A: To enjoy the flavor of Carroll County living and food and to support the wonderful efforts made by Carroll Hospice each and every day.