About the “Before I die…” Wall

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A global public art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in a public place.

Hospice of Southern Illinois is joining the movement and conversation about the “Before I die…” wall. Candy Chang made the first wall in 2011 in New Orleans. We hope our participation bringing our portable walls to health fairs and community events will encourage people to start a healthcare conversation before it is needed; spread awareness that hospice is about how you live; and make it easier to talk about hard topics, like death. We debuted our first portable wall at an employee health fair. From this, we saw employees engaging with their peers and other healthcare professionals. They were sharing life stories, talking about future goals and dreams, and starting their healthcare conversation!

Candy has made the project accessible for any community to use. So please take the project to your community. Since 2011, over 1,000 “Before I die…” walls have been made all over the world. She also has a book! Please tag @beforeidiewall on social media, use #beforeidiewall or visit www.beforeidie.cc.

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Candy Chang’s Story:

After losing someone she loved and experiencing deep depression, artist Candy Chang created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her neighborhood to create an anonymous place to help restore perspective and share intimately with neighbors while remaining an introvert. After receiving permission, she painted the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid of the sentence, “Before I die I want to _______.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.

It was all an experiment and she didn’t know what to expect. By the next day, the wall was full of responses and it kept growing: Before I die I want to… sing for millions, plant a tree, hold her one more time, straddle the International Date Line, see my daughter graduate, eat more everything, abandon all insecurities, be completely myself…  She understood her neighbors in new and enlightening ways, and the wall reminded her that she’s not alone as she tries to make sense of her life.

To have Hospice of Southern Illinois bring a portable “Before I die…” wall to your health fair or community event, please reach out to Leigh Sindelar, lsindelar@hospice.org. We also provide speaking engagements on a variety of healthcare topics at no cost to you or your organization. Visit our website for more information, www.hospice.org. We are your resource for end-of-life care. There comes a time… to start the conversation.

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