Making The Trip Home: Carly Hon

It's been nearly two months since Carla "Carly" Hon has stepped foot in the home she's lived in for 59 years.

Last week, the 65-year-old EveryStep Hospice patient was able to visit her home for the final time with the help of her family, care team, and generous donations from two other metro healthcare companies.

 Carly, who was diagnosed with cancer in mid-May, left her house in Des Moines Memorial Day weekend after experiencing severe pain in her legs.

After arriving at the hospital, Carly and her husband, Roger, learned she had blood clots in both of her upper legs. After several surgeries, and more severe pain, doctors amputated Carly's left leg above the knee.

The surgeries, along with her cancer diagnosis and treatment, prevented Carly from returning home.

When she was moved to EveryStep's Kavanagh House on 56th Street, the 10-minute drive home was still on her mind.

"She just wanted to feel the presence of home again, and be surrounded with the love she's always lived with there," Roger said of Carly's desire to go home.

Carly's EveryStep Hospice care team knew about her desire to see her house again, and social worker Beth Brauer set out to make that wish a reality.

Working with the EveryStep Foundation, Beth researched the cost of transporting Carly from Kavanagh House to her home. While the trip is short, the logistics were complicated. 

There are four step to enter Carly's home, a climb that she couldn't make. Brauer reached out to Midwest Ambulance to find out the cost of transporting Carly from the hospice house and into her home. She also inquired about a wheelchair rental from NuCara (formerly Hammer Medical Supply).

With costs of the trip climbing, EveryStep's Foundation team began looking to their arsenal of contacts and donors. EveryStep President and CEO, Tray Wade contacted both Midwest Ambulance and NuCara to explain the situation.

Both companies agreed to donate the ambulance ride and wheelchair rental.

"We've worked with EveryStep for 10 years and we’re proud to support such a great cause," Matt Flatt with NuCara, said.

"We strive to care for each of our patients as though they are one of our own family members,” Jake Chapman, with Midwest Ambulance, said. “It is an honor to have played a small part in fulfilling this wish."

On July 18, Carly, her husband of 20 years, Roger, close friends and family made the trip to the Des Moines home.

"She was relieved," Roger notes of his wife's reaction to coming home. "She felt happy and more comfortable in her own home setting."

Roger said the visit, which lasted about two hours, was comforting for both Carly and her family and friends visiting.

"We were just real, real happy for her, and to know that she had been comforted by being in her own home again, even for a short time. It brought her joy," he says.

That Carly's EveryStep Hospice team took the time and effort to coordinate her trip home meant a lot to Roger, Carly and their loved one.

"The people here have been fantastic," he says of Carly's care team. "They have been a blessing to her. 

To help fund patient wishes and their quality of life, please consider a gift to EveryStep Foundation at everystep.org/donate.