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September 18, 2018

Swampscott natives to walk in ‘larger-than-life’ friend’s memory
Swampscott Reporter

The 31st Annual Walk for Hospice to benefit Care Dimensions, to take place on Sunday, Sept. 30, is three miles and starts and ends at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers. The non-profit expects about 4,000 walkers this year and hopes to raise about $200,000.

As seniors at Swampscott High School in 1985, Debbie Sentner, Kristin Kennedy and Kate Costin were best friends who spent their days hanging out, dancing to Madonna and styling their big hair. “My favorite memory is the three of us going to senior prom,” said Kristin, whose last name is now Geraghty. “I had a red dress, Kate wore a green dress and Debbie had a white dress. We looked like an Italian flag.”

Over the years, Kate and Kristin lost touch with Debbie. In December 2017, they were shocked to learn she died of colon cancer at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers. So to honor Debbie’s memory, the pair established a Swampscott Class of 1985 team to participate in the upcoming Care Dimensions Walk for Hospice.

The 31st Annual Walk for Hospice to benefit Care Dimensions, to take place on Sunday, Sept. 30, is three miles and starts and ends at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers. The non-profit expects about 4,000 walkers this year and hopes to raise about $200,000.

Care Dimensions runs the Kaplan House and provides end-of-life care for individuals and their families in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.

“Care Dimensions has touched so many of our lives,” said Kristin, whose father had home hospice care and brother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease at the Kaplan House. “It’s so calming, it’s so beautiful at the Kaplan House. The people there are wonderful.” Kate Costin says Care Dimensions helped her father die at home with dignity.

“Every member of the team was so professional and courteous,” Costin wrote in a recent blog post. “Here we were at our worst time and they made everything easier. They really are like angels. I was with him when he took his last breath. It was peaceful and he died the way he wanted.”

Debbie Sentner, whose married name was Cuneo, most recently lived in Georgetown. Her Swampscott friends remember her as a larger than life woman with a great sense of humor.

“She could always make you smile and laugh out loud, long before we ever heard of LOL,” said Costin, who now lives in Groveland. “She also was a giving and caring person and worked for 19 years as a registered nurse at Salem Hospital.”

At last check, 20 people are walking with the SHS team, including ’84 and ’85 graduates, Debbie’s family members and some of her college friends.“My goal initially was to raise $1,000 and then I raised it to $5,000 and then I raised it to $7,000. I’m sure we’re going to surpass that,” Costin said. “Next year, I want to raise $8,500, because we’re from the Class of ’85.”

Money raised from the walk supports “compassionate care to anyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay, complementary therapies for patients, such as Reiki, massage, music, and pet therapy and grief support for anyone in the community, regardless of hospice involvement,” according to Amy Rein, Care Dimensions’ special events manager.

Costin encourages all SHS grads to lace up to support hospice and honor Debbie Sentner Cuneo. “I hope that my classmates and friends never have their own hospice story, but if they do, some of us know what you are going through, and that is what makes us all the same,” she said. “It does not matter who you were friends with or keep in touch with, let’s do this together.”

For more information or to register to walk or donate, visit www.CareDimensions.org/Walk.


Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.