Hospice Patient Gets Birthday Wish and Ride of his Life

Tesla story

 On his 37th birthday, David Chavez got the ride of his life. 

David, a hospice patient at EveryStep’s Bright Kavanagh Center in Des Moines, was enjoying the outdoors while taking a wheelchair walk on the grounds with his wife Jamie and 19-year-old daughter Marissa.

“He likes to go for a stroll in the afternoons,” Jamie says.

That’s when David spotted a Tesla in the parking lot. An avid car enthusiast, David was immediately intrigued and wanted to know if he could speak to the car’s owner.

“He’s always loved cars,” Jamie says, adding that the Tesla is among his favorites.

After a little sleuthing, EveryStep Hospice ARNP Lori Bailey discovered the car’s owner: Dustin Miller, a member of EveryStep’s IT team. Dustin, who shares David’s love of Teslas, had saved up for several years to be able to buy his dream car.

Not only was Dustin happy to talk with David, he also offered David a ride. Soon, the pair were off for a short drive around east Des Moines, enjoying the sunshine and distinctive new car smell.

For the father of three, who happened to be celebrating his birthday that day, it was “the best birthday ever”.

After the ride, David was happy and exhilarated, even saying, “I feel like running right now!” And while he soon tired, and birthday cake was no longer something David could eat and enjoy, Jamie says it didn’t matter.

“The ride was all he needed,” she says. “They made his day.”

Since becoming a patient of EveryStep Hospice in October, David and his family have been able to enjoy unexpected and treasured moments together, Jamie says. They learned of EveryStep through the Iowa Clinic’s palliative care team, who recommended a meeting with EveryStep’s chief medical director, Dr. Tom Mouser. From there, David received visits at home from the EveryStep Hospice team until after Easter Sunday, when David moved to EveryStep’s Bright Kavanagh Center to receive around-the-clock hospice care.

“It’s been easier for pain management control,” Jamie notes. “He’s had several good months where he was comfortable – it was the biggest blessing.” For the family of five, which includes 13-year-old Ryan and 10-year-old Isaiah, every moment that they could enjoy together has been invaluable.

“EveryStep has been amazing,” Jamie says. “We were not enjoying life before hospice. Hospice got him to a place where he could enjoy life.”

To learn about EveryStep Hospice and how it can help, visit everystep.org/services/hospice.