...By Solomon Thomas for TDPel Media.
President Joe Biden is set to make a private visit to the Mayo Hospice in western Ireland on Friday, which bears a plaque dedicated to his late son, Beau.
The plaque represents Biden’s previous visit in 2017, when he “turned the sod” in a groundbreaking ceremony and helped raise funds for the hospice.
The visit to Mayo Hospice will be in the midst of his tour of Irish pilgrimage sites and his ancestral history center.
Before the hospice was established in 2019, patients had to travel for hours to other cities for hospice care.
Biden’s connection with the hospice came through fundraising efforts from Laurita Blewitt, Biden’s third cousin, during his 2016 visit as Vice President.
The hospice was built with 14 in-patient rooms and suites for out-patient treatment, with a picturesque view of the Irish landscape.
According to the CEO of Mayo Hospice Foundation, Martina Jennings, the most important aspect of Biden’s involvement with the hospice is his personal account of hospice care that helped his son Beau, who died of a brain tumor at the age of 46 just two years earlier.
Jennings shared how Biden was casual and informal during the groundbreaking ceremony and how his words on the day mirrored the hospice’s mission.
Biden’s family had already received support during Beau’s illness, but Biden felt for those who didn’t have the same support.
The hospice’s staff and community are excited to show Biden how they fulfilled their promise to provide a sanctuary of love, respect, compassion, and care.
Biden’s visit to Mayo Hospice is a part of his trip to the land of his ancestors in Co. Mayo, western Ireland.
The President’s last public appearance in Ireland will be a speech outside St. Muredach’s cathedral in the town of Ballina, where his great-great-great grandfather, Edward Blewitt, sold 27,000 bricks before leaving Ireland for the US.
Ballina is still home to Biden’s third, fourth, and fifth cousins, as well as more distant relatives.
Dara Calleary, a government minister who grew up in Ballina, said that Biden’s involvement with the hospice won the hearts of the community and made him more than just another US president.