EveryStep's Most Read Stories of 2020

With more than 30 programs and services touching the lives of Iowans across the state, EveryStep has many stories to tell.

From the grief support a father received after losing two loved ones, to the nurse who dedicates her life to helping those at the end of theirs, the heartfelt stories we shared in 2020 truly showcased how EveryStep is with the people we serve, every step of the way. 

Below, you'll find a list of the top 5 read stories on EveryStep's blog, but there are many more waiting for you to read (and watch) here. 

Support Through Unimaginable Grief: Bob Kock


In March 2017, Bob Kock and his wife received the news no parents ever want to hear: their daughter Brittany, 23, had died of a drug overdose.
For the next year, the couple struggled with their grief, having reached out to a few grief counselors but never finding the right fit.
Then, on March 10, 2018, one year to the day since the couple buried Brittany, Bob Kock's world turned upside down again.
Sherry Kock, Bob’s companion and wife of nearly 30 years, had been killed in a car accident.
"There was no way that I was going to go through this on my own," Bob recalls. "It was pretty much, I guess I was a walking zombie for a while."
That's when Bob's friend, Dave, paid him a visit and connected him with EveryStep bereavement counselor Denise Nahnsen.

Read more of Bob's story, here. 

A Life's Mission Of Compassion: EveryStep Hospice Nurse Linda Staggs

As a young girl growing up on a farm, Linda Staggs helped to deliver lambs, calves and foals. She liked the work, the responsibility and being part of their care.
So, it only makes sense that Linda’s compassionate nature would lead her toward a career in nursing and helping people who were ill or hurt.
"I loved taking care of them," the EveryStep Hospice nurse in the Centerville area recalls, adding that she also had a desire to learn more about long-term care.
"After starting nursing classes I think I fell in love with the medical part of it and decided to go further with my education," she said.
But she never thought of hospice care. In fact, when she started her nursing career she hadn't even heard about hospice care.

Read more of Linda's story, here. 

Providing Care And Support To New Moms In The Time Of COVID-19

Like many EveryStep staff members, providing care and support to clients is at the core of Stephanie Van Roekel's mission.

But during the COVID-19 pandemic, that care has taken on a new look for the Healthy Start nurse consultant.

Instead of visiting expectant and new moms and their babies at home, Van Roekel has turned to other means of communication, such as phone calls and text messages, to make sure her clients' needs are met and health questions answered.

"At first, not being able to be next to a client at a home visit was very difficult. Trying to assess a postpartum mom’s pain, helping with breastfeeding or evaluating her mood is obviously much easier to do when I can see her, read her facial expressions and to see how she’s ambulating," Stephanie says.

It's even more difficult when it comes to assessing newborns. Being unable to hold them to assess their tone, watch how they latch to nurse and chewing their weight for appropriate growth has been next to impossible.

Read more of this story, here. 

A Mother's Day Amid Grief: Darice Otto

The last time Darice Otto took a photo of her daughter Roseanna was Mother's Day 2019.

Just a few short weeks later, on May 27, her daughter passed away.

Darice recalls the night her daughter was shot and killed. Roseanna, 23, and her three girls lived right across the street with Darice's mother.

"My husband and I were in bed and there was a knock on the door," she says. "It was my mom and when I answered she said, 'I think he shot her.'"

When her husband came to the door, Darice realized what her mother was saying and ran to the house next door to find her daughter had been shot and killed. 

 "Roseanna and I shared a very close relationship," Darice says. "We saw each other every day.. on two occasions we even worked at the same care centers. We ended every conversation with an I love you and be safe if on phone and when in person it was a hug, I love you and be safe." 

Visiting Great-Grandma During COVID-19: A Story From Greater Regional Hospice Home

There's nothing quite like the connection between a child and their grandparent or great-grandparent.

Izzy and Avvy Curtis have experienced that firsthand when it comes to their 95-year-old great grandma, Harriet Garrett.

Before the current COVID-19 situation materialized, the girls would visit their great grandma regularly, even when she moved into EveryStep's Greater Regional Hospice Home in Creston.

Those visits and the games of UNO they all enjoy came to an abrupt end last week as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated in Iowa.

At that time, EveryStep implemented changes to its visitor policy at its two hospice homes - Kavanagh House on 56th Street in Des Moines and Greater Regional Hospice Home.

Under the new, temporary policy, patients are limited to two visitors at a time, and they must be adults ages 18 and older.

Read more of this story, here.