A Story from Our Hospice Program: Andrea Blake

Andrea Blake always wanted to be a nurse. In high school, while her peers were pursuing summer jobs at the mall or restaurants, she was working at an assisted living home. After graduation, she began working toward a bachelor's degree in nursing. After moving to the East Coast, Blake began work at a teaching hospital on a unit dedicated to infectious disease and general medicine. After a bit of encouragement from a mentor, she continued her education, seeking a master's degree in nursing. "There's so much hands-on learning that you continue to do after graduating and in your early years of nursing.I felt I couldn't stop working while starting my graduate studies," she recalls of furthering her education.

Celebrating & Supporting Family Caregivers

Honoring family caregivers is a tradition that began in the mid-1990s. In his 2012 presidential proclamation of November as National Family Caregivers Month, President Barack Obama stated: "Across America, daughters and sons balance the work of caring for aging parents with the demands of their careers and raising their own children. Spouses and partners become caregivers to the ones they love even as they navigate their own health challenges.All of them give selflessly to bring comfort, social engagement, and stability to those they love. National Family Caregivers Month is a time to reflect on the compassion and dedication that family caregivers embody every day."

Celebrating the Holidays with a Box of Cheer

Last December, Terri Arthur was in her garage when her son called her from inside the house. "There's a big box on the patio," he told her. Despite the bustling holiday season with packages coming and going from the back of the mailman's truck, Terri couldn't remember ordering anything. Especially a large gift-wrapped box. With a bit of hesitation and anticipation, Terri trudged out to the patio to retrieve the package. "I got it inside and opened it up," Terri recalls. "Then I cried like a baby."

A Story from Our Hospice Program: Carmen Winters

Carmen Winters strides into the McDonalds on a cold April day, looks around, and notices. Notices the chill in the air, notices the massively overstuffed hiker's backpack resting unobtrusively in the corner, notices the man to whom it belongs chatting at the front desk with the staffers about how the sleet had frozen his home, a tent, and how he politely asks if he could stick around a while and warm up. After they give their approval and he sits back down, Carmen walks up, orders a coffee for herself and an anonymous hot meal for the man. The smile on the man's face when the server delivered it to him was enough for her. The skill of observation, this heartfelt level of care has always been a part of Carmen, but was nurtured by Carlos, her husband of 42 years. It continued to grow when twelve years after surviving cancer, Carlos began to succumb to chronic kidney failure and was admitted to the Kavanagh House on 56th Street. There, Carmen noticed the constant acts of compassion extended by the members of EveryStep Hospice.