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Honor Martin and Help Sunshine Haven

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Nothing is more important to Martin Sheen than family and faith, and his friends and fans can honor that spirit now by remembering his brother Carlos.   On May 25, 2010, Carlos passed away while in care at Sunshine Haven, a hospice facility near Brownsfille, Texas.   Please read the article below, then show your generosity and compassion with a memorial donation.  Please remember that every small prayer is heard and donations of any amount are welcome.

Actor Martin Sheen visits brother at Sunshine Haven, helps raise funds for hospice

May 10, 2010 
By Travis Whitehead, "The Brownsville Herald"

OLMITO – Actor Martin Sheen couldn’t stop bragging about his brother Carlos.

"He’s been a professional gardener, a horse trainer; he used to cook on the ships that carried supplies to the oil platforms," said Sheen. "He’s done a lot."

Sheen was visiting his brother at Sunshine Haven, a licensed special care facility. The facility cares for people who are terminally ill, and Carlos Estevez, Sheen’s brother and a resident of the Rio Grande Valley for the last 10 years, has terminal lung cancer. On this particular afternoon the 74-year-old Estevez seemed in great spirits as he sat on a screened patio looking out at the birds visiting feeders.

"I love it," he said. "This is like a bird sanctuary. There must be two dozen species that come through here."

His sister Carmen had just arrived from Madrid, Spain, to visit her brother. Sheen’s wife, Janet, was also tending to Estevez.

Sheen, famous for his leading roles in "Apocalypse Now" and "The West Wing," hadn’t planned to go public about his visit. However, when he learned Sunshine Haven was holding a golf tournament May 8 at Treasure Hills in Harlingen to raise money for new rooms, he decided to participate in the event to help raise more money. The facility currently has rooms for only three people. Charlene Rowles, executive director for Sunshine Haven, has built a wing with eight additional rooms, and she plans to use one of the existing rooms for a chapel once the new addition is in use.

Rowles, who is also a registered nurse and a certified hospice and palliative nurse, said construction is about 80 percent complete, though she needs another $50,000 to finish the job.

"This addition started because of the great need," said Rowles, who was walking with Sheen through the hallway where eight rooms waited for finishing touches so they could begin serving the community.

"We need an emergency power generator, a/c units; we need plumbing and electrical work," Rowles said.

"This is a wheel-in shower," observed Sheen enthusiastically, referring to a room in which a person could simply be rolled in to take a shower. As things are, they must be bathed in bed, a task requiring more than one attendant.

"If this was ready," said Sheen, nodding to the shower room, "they could just wheel them in there. That’s a tremendous improvement. Only one person is needed to do it."

Rowles said there is a long waiting list of people in hospitals who would like to spend their last days at Sunshine Haven, where they would have the benefit of a large living room with comfortable couches, a big-screen television, a piano and furnishings meant to create a family atmosphere that makes patients comfortable. The facility employes several certified nursing assistants to make the patients comfortable, which includes preparing home-cooked meals.

"We provide comfort care to the terminally ill," Rowles said. "We do that on a donation basis only. We do not bill families or insurance or Medicare or Medicaid. We make sure people’s final wishes are met whenever we can, and we work in conjunction with the hospice companies to provide end-of-life care."

Estevez was brought to Sunshine Haven by a hospice organization called HealthCare Odyssey, which was caring for him at his home, said Christina Brown, community education representative.

Sheen said he has canceled all of his engagements until at least May 27, when he’s scheduled to speak in Vancouver.

"I’m here for the long haul," he said.

More golfing  events are scheduled to raise money for Sunshine Haven. The next scheduled event is on June 12 at River Bend in Brownsville. Sheen remarked he may participate in that golf tournament, too.

Here's how to donate

By Mail:  Sunshine Haven, P.O. Box 4478, Brownsville, TX   78523
By PayPal:  Use your PayPal account to send funds to Sunshine Haven's account,