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Grieving Mother Finds Way to Say Thanks
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Dina Madsen is holding a three-day sale and raffle at Madeline + Oliver to benefit Hospice of the Wood River Valley.
   
Thursday, November 24, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Thanksgiving was mother and daughter’s favorite holiday.

But two days after Thanksgiving 2021 Dina Madsen’s daughter Chyna Karterman Cook died at 32 at her home in Florida, the result of medical complications relating to a hip injury.

This Thanksgiving a grieving mother is hosting fundraising event in her Ketchum store—Madeleine + Oliver—on behalf of the Hospice of the Wood River Valley in honor of her daughter.

 
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A line of men’s underwear Dina Madsen found in France are the store’s bestseller.
 

“I don't know that I would be here on this planet without the selfless Angels at Hospice,” said Madsen. “The level of care that they provide with such a small staff is mind boggling. They have provided one-on-one counseling several times when I thought I couldn't go on. They also provide free group grief counseling, when I would not have been able to afford $150-an-hour grief sessions from a therapist.”

Madsen will give 80 percent of the proceeds from sales of new select collections Friday through Sunday, Nov. 25-27, at her store on Sun Valley Road across from Starbucks. She also will hold a raffle for gift cards and products contributed by a variety of Ketchum businesses, including Madeline + Oliver, Knob Hill Inn, Rominna’s, Iconoclast Books, Ketchum Kitchen and the 511 Salon.

Ketchum jeweler Liesl Pawliw will be there with her handmade jewelry. Café Della will furnish some nibbles, and Madsen is planning to offer gluten-free doughnuts and bath bomb giveaways with purchases.

A portion of all sales will benefit the Hospice and Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley, which has provided services free of charge since its founding in 1985.

 
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Dina Madsen offers a huge variety of items at Madeline + Oliver.
 

“They are one of just two hospices in the country that are 100 percent funded by donations. And in the 35 years I’ve been here I can’t remember a single fundraiser done for them,” Madsen said.

Madsen’s daughter was named Chyna after the South China Seas where her mother and father fell in love. The little girl with black hair and blue eyes was born and raised in the Wood River Valley and she loved every minute of living here.

“She told her friends at NYU about her childhood and they said, ‘Oh, that’s not real.’ Then they’d come  to visit and they’d say, ‘Ohmigosh, this is magical’ and they’d want to stay,” said Madsen. “She was a smart kid, the type of kid who would defend other children from bullies. She loved being outside and dancing ballet. And she loved to cook—one of her favorite dishes was a Southern seafood bake with corn and potatoes. She was that person with whom I could laugh so hard because we knew each other so well.”

Chyna helped her mother open Madeline + Oliver, which they named after a boxer rescue and basset lab. And she was instrumental in getting J. McLaughlin to open a store in Ketchum.

 
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What could cuter than these soft teddy bears in a soft swing?
 

Then she suffered a hip injury—the kind typically only suffered by ballerinas and downhill ski racers. Upon examination doctors in Florida discovered that her femurs were not symmetrical and suggested that she should have both femurs broken to correct the problem.

Chyna never got to that point. While trying to rehab from two excruciating surgeries and isolated from friends and family because of COVID she slipped away.

“She didn’t tell me how bad it was because she didn’t want to worry me,” Madsen said.

A friend suggested Madsen seek help from Hospice and she found some solace in the support group the organization offered for those who had lost someone.

 
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The store also offers a variety of silk and other fashion.
 

“It’s different when you in a group of people who have lost someone. There’s an understanding that others can’t offer. It’s like a special club, and only those in that club truly understand what you’re going through. They offer counseling—you can call anytime and talk—and it’s 100 percent free,” she said.

As part of her personal therapy, Madsen has thrown herself into Madeline + Oliver, which she started after working at Ketchum Bed and Bath in the Galleria.

“I expanded the inventory,” she said. “I said, ‘You need pajamas when you go to bed. You need pretty lotions. Now, it’s a lifestyle store with bedding and bath. I do interior design specializing in bed and bath. I offer loungewear that you can wear outside of the home or in when you’re lounging around. I have stuffed animals, organic baby clothes…”

One of Madsen’s most popular items is men’s underwear shorts from France with pictures of ski resorts and other scenes men can appreciate.

“It’s so hard to buy for men. I’m like a squirrel digging around for that unique item that’s not expensive,” she added.

Another crowd pleaser are clothing items, pillows and stuffed toys that can be heated in the microwave to provide a warm fuzzy feeling at bedtime.

“When people can’t remember the name of my store, they call it ‘the soft store,’ ” Madsen said.

She hopes the items she has curated will appeal to shoppers as she tries to thank Hospice for what they’ve done for her and others.

“Grief shatters the nervous system. Your brain goes wild and you think you’re going crazy. And Hospice  helps you to understand this is normal—that you’re not crazy,” she said. “I want people to understand how hard these angels work, what they bring here to the valley.”

HOSPICE OF THE WOOD RIVER VALLEY IN 2021:

Employees: 7

Average daily census: 56 patients

Volunteers and Volunteer Board Members: 91

RN visits: 2,272

Individuals served: 1,367 including 135 hospice patients and their families

Volunteer Hours: 1, 327

RN response to sudden/unexpected deaths: 17

Telephone call and Telemedicine appointments to support patients: 1,402

Bereavement visits and calls after loss of a loved one: 463

Individuals who participated in HPCWRV education/training opportunities: 148

Facilitated Support Group Sessions: 36

Social Work visits: 119

The Hospice is at 507 N. 1st Ave. in Ketchum. To learn more, call 208-726-8464.

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