Surf, Sun and Savoring Moments

Karen Shaw with her kids

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Project Wish is just one of the many ways patients and families experience how hospice care is about quality of life, living every day to the fullest and sharing important moments. It’s wholistic in the sense that hospice cares for the whole person­—body, mind and spirit. Karen Shaw was recently asked to make a wish, “I just want to hug my grandchildren.” VNA answered the call.

It was a Saturday morning bathed in the warmth of the late spring sun. The soft curvy shores of Vero Beach stretched, yawned and opened her arms open wide to greet Karen. This day was so much more than anticipation, it was about pure joy knowing wishes do come true. With planning entrusted to Sara Bumgarner, volunteer manager she facilitated the help of music therapy intern, Elizabeth Lyke, April Brown, LPN and Candi Alexander, LCSW. The day couldn’t have been more perfect.

From the shade of a canopy, whose feet were sunk in the sand, Karen rose from her beach chair surrounded by her family, sons Mark and Joe with their wives and children. Licorice curly locks fell across her shoulders bouncing with glee as her grandchildren, Aurora, aged eight and Corren, aged five, clasped her hands and escorted her to the water’s edge. Incoming waves raced to the sandy beach beckoning their company, the children let go, running ahead, splashing into the surf.

Standing side by side with her nurse, when asked for her thoughts, at first, Karen was speechless. Seated back under the cool shade of the canopy, grandchildren in her arms, she looked around at her family and shifted her view to the horizon: she found the words, “It couldn’t have been a more perfect morning. It was too good to be real, to be surrounded by my family. I couldn’t wait to hug my grandchildren.”

The Project Wish Program is made possible by the generosity of donors who support the VNA & Hospice Foundation. Donations allow the VNA to develop programs to meet the unique needs of our patients.

Sara Bumgarner has a wish of her own, Project Wish needs volunteers dedicated to networking when patients have wishes, “We need a ‘go to’ list of people we can call on when we need help reaching out. Sometimes our patients want to meet famous people or attend an event. We would love to make that possible.” To volunteer specifically for Project Wish, call Sara Bumgarner at 772.567.5551.

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