A Wish Comes True for Council Bluffs Hospice Patient

Medication and radiation have made it difficult for Kathy Simon to remember some things, but she remembers last Christmas very clearly. She remembers the lights and the loved ones who helped her make a wish come true.

Kathy’s journey with EveryStep began seven years ago, as a nurse with Everystep Hospice’s Council Bluffs team. Her team members lovingly call Kathy the “lynchpin” that holds the team together. Kathy laughs at that, but knows the work she did as a hospice nurse was important. In September 2022, she was planning to attend a seminar with her colleagues in Des Moines after a scheduled doctor’s visit. “I worked September 23 and then went to my appointment. On September 26 I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer.”

Undergoing 10 rounds of radiation in September, Kathy left her job as an EveryStep nurse and became an EveryStep Hospice patient. “Having this perspective does make me appreciate my former co-workers more,” says Kathy, who is using her experience as a patient to suggest improvements or different ways of patient care to her care team.

Last December, Kathy was visiting with EveryStep Hospice’s Council Bluffs team social worker Tricia Wilson when the discussion turned to their childhood Christmas wishes. “I said, you know, I always wished to look at Christmas lights in a limousine. I just thought that would be so cool!”

That’s when Tricia went to work.

With financial assistance from the EveryStep Foundation, Tricia was able to arrange for a special trip through the Christmas lights display at Werner Park near Omaha. Because a limousine could not make the tight turns through the animated displays, Tricia arranged for a 13-passenger bus to take Kathy through the displays. “They picked me up at my house and rolled out a red carpet for me to get to the van!” remembers Kathy, who was surrounded by her husband and son, relatives, friends and family. “It was very heartwarming. My favorite part of the ride was just seeing everyone coming together in my honor. I still have a very hard time with that — it’s just all very humbling.

“The man that drove our bus, he said, ‘So I hear your real true dream was riding in a limo.’ I told him yes and he asked me where I wanted to go the next Monday night!” The driver picked up Kathy and some of her friends for a ride around town in style. “You know, we tried to give him money, but he wouldn’t take any.”

Kathy smiles at those memories, and while she was impressed by the holiday lights, she’s most thankful she was surrounded by loved ones as her wish came true.

Kathy passed away October 15, 2023.

Whether it's helping to pay for utilities because finances are tight or recreating a favorite home-cooked meal, EveryStep Hospice helps patients find quality of life on their terms. Sometimes this means fulfilling wishes and create lasting memories for patients and their families. Generous donors fund wishes and quality-of-life needs through gifts to the EveryStep Foundation.

EveryStep Hospice helps those living with a serious illness make the best out of every day. Hospice care is provided wherever a person calls home – an apartment, house, assisted living center or EveryStep’s Kavanagh House in Des Moines.

If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946. Or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at everystep.org/find-care. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.