The love of our life, our mother, our friend and hero Ann Shirley, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, February 2016. Prior to this life changing event, mom was a vibrant and an active senior who traveled the world, volunteered once a week at Little Company of Mary Hospital in the womb care and physical therapy department, acted as Team Captain for St. Sabina Catholic Church, and participated in a host of activities throughout the city including marches on violence, sit in at the gun shows in Riverdale, supporting local events and fundraisers and enjoying life to the fullest.
After hearing the cancer was terminal, mom made a decision to battle this disease to prolong her quality of life and time with her family. Mom is showing us what a true fighter is made of. Moms warring spirit should remind us of what Winston Churchill said: “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.”
You see, the real battle began the day mom was released from the hospital, February 23, 2016. Mom was sent home on 8 liters of oxygen, 19 pills a day, and requires one on-one-assistance to address her day to day increasing care needs. On March 7, 2016 Chemo and Radiation began, and although she was successful with receiving one 4 hour treatment and 3 rounds of radiation, mom’s 95 pound frail body had a bad reaction on the 4th day of radiation, and was immediately transported to the emergency room. The chemo and radiation caused inflammation of the lungs, causing further damage so much so, that her vital signs turned critical and she was readmitted into to the hospital where she remained for 3 days.
In the days following her final hospital readmission mom’s health began declining rapidly. However, neither her words, nor her fight have changed. Mom’s lung specialist told us that the treatments are not effective, and mom looked directly at him and in a powerful whisper asked him, “Well, how are you going to treat all of this?”
Our dear mom has fought for so much, for so long that it is all she knows to do. Her strong spirit and “never give up” fight, is unyielding to the overwhelming attack of the enemy. Mom has not lost her fight, she is merely finishing it! With the love and support of her daughters, my sister Kimberly and I want to assist mom with her Final Destination. Even now, I can hear her saying, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith.” In addition to that same spirit, and with that same fight, my sister Kim and I are asking for your help today.
After further test, Mom was placed on in-home hospice. The blessing, God has gifted her with a wonderful hospice team and of course her daughters Kimberly and myself, who collectively spend 65 hours per work week and 48 hours on the weekend providing care throughout the night, partial day, evening and weekends. Unfortunately, the 65 hours a week we spend with our mom is not enough, nor is the time that the wonderful hospice team and other family members provide is not enough.
After carefully assessing what is needed to provide mom with quality care leading up to her final transition, it was decided that she actually requires 24 hours of care per day or 120 hours per 5 day week. Thus far, Kim and I plan to continue to contribute 65 hours of personal care and incorporate other family members, church family and friends to support a few hours on the weekend but none are equipped to provide specialized care or administer morphine or anti-anxiety medications, in addition to moms increasing personal care.
To ensure that Mom’s Final Destination is first class, my sister and I have made a decision to hire a part-time personal care assistant to provide 25-30 hours of paid service during our absence from her bedside. However she requires 40-50 hours of specialized care during our absence. The cost of this support staff is $480 - $500 per week or $1920.00 to $2000.00 per month which is not covered by hospice or healthcare insurance.
As a result, we have set a goal to raise $5760.00 by her birthday, on April 20, 2016. The funds donated by family and friends will provide the financial support to give Mom the care that is required to assist with her final transition along with providing her peace and comfort. Every year, my sister and I honor and celebrate our mother by taking her on a birthday extravaganza which has included overnight spa days, shopping sprees, trip to St. Louis with her BFF overnight for dinner at Sweetie Pies and shopping with all expenses paid. For her 76th birthday bash, we had a surprised scheduled 3 day trip planned for Las Vegas for a fun Mom and Girls Getaway but warned by her physicians to cancel due to her progressively ailing condition.
Being able to raise the funds to support our mother on her Final Birthday Trip/Destination would demonstrate the love that so many people share for her and make her last days in this life fruitful and to her liking. However, if the birthday goal is not achieved by our goal date, we will keep the account open until mom’s final destination has been made.
Thank you in advance for all the kindness you have shown my mother, my sister and I over the years, through her medical crisis and thus far. Your kind words, gestures, cards, flowers, texts, calls, and visits do not go unnoticed.
Warm and Sincere Regards,
Mariann McGill and Kimberly McCray (Shirley’s Girl’s)
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