Camp Courage is JourneyCare’s bereavement camp for kids who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Twenty-five years ago, my dad's cancer returned. I was 9 years old at the time and didn't fully understand the magnitude of the situation. He declined quickly, and only four months after his diagnosis, he died. This trauma still lives with me today, but I have been able to live with it thanks to the support I received in the aftermath.
The most significant boost I received at that time was from JourneyCare. My mom immediately enrolled our family in their monthly grief support groups, and it was there that I learned that I wasn't alone in this world. While my experiences were unique — like anyone else's — I took comfort in knowing that there were other children that would be going on a similar life journey to my own.
I’m a new JourneyCare team member just three months into my role as a digital specialist, but our work in the Marketing Department has already allowed me to see our organization from all facets. Sometimes we create fancy graphics and posters for exciting events like this year’s Allstars of Project Runway fundraiser. Other times we help develop communication tools that help our clinicians do their jobs more efficiently. But one of my favorite projects so far has been photographing and documenting the great work JourneyCare continues to do in the community.
I’ve been employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for the past 26 years. I never thought I would work as a CNA for this long, but when you have passion for what you do, it’s easy to find comfort in your work. It gives me great pleasure to serve the people within my community. If I can put a smile on someone’s face each day, that makes my life worth living.
But at times, there are occasions when being a caregiver can be stressful. To reduce stress when caring for others at JourneyCare, I first take the time to take care of my own well-being.
As a music therapist for JourneyCare, I was making a music therapy visit when a nurse from our hospice team saw me and asked me to play for another patient who was very near end of life.
Susan was still fairly young, a 66 year old woman who had suffered from multiple sclerosis. When I entered the room, she was lying in bed, had slightly labored breathing, and did not respond when I greeted her or said her name. She had family surrounding her, two sisters and a brother-in-law, who all very kindly greeted me.