On March 10, 2020, we celebrated my Dad’s birthday at Red Lobster. Dad toasted himself with a Bahama Mama cocktail in honor of my late mother. It was a great day! He was happy. We were happy!
On March 11, 2020, the nursing homes shut down to the public to “protect” its residents from contracting covid19. The separation from family and friends in the community adversely affected him. Who knew this would go on for as long as it has? We did not. We don’t think anybody did.
Three months in of not seeing him, he suffered ANOTHER stroke that went undetected by those we entrusted to care for him and developed a stage 3 pressure wound. We moved him and two months later, he contracted COVID. Thank GOD he survived! My father is a FIGHTER but the separation from loved ones has taken a toll on him. Dad is ready to come HOME. We are ready for him to come HOME.
Recently we spent a few hours at the nursing facility training on medication, feeding, changing, turning, transferring, etc. The training confirmed the sobering fact that Dad needs total care and it will take TWO people and a TREMENDOUS AMOUNT of time and effort to care for him 24/7. We will need great help! While training, I received THREE DENIALS regarding his services and financial resources (Medicare, Medicaid and Wells Fargo). I was so disappointed and defeated! Here is a man who is a veteran, an accomplished educator and economic advisor, paid into the system, provided for his wife and family, served on numerous boards in many community organizations that provide the type of services he now needs, demonstrated AWESOME stewardship and he is DENIED the best equipment, needed amount of service hours and money to provide the continuous care he needs in this season of his life.
He has touched and is affiliated with so many people and institutions. During one of our last “spring cleaning” days to prepare for his arrival, we came across so many memoirs from Everglades Vocational High & Lake Shore High in Belle Glade, FL, Florida A&M University, the United States Army, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Hurst Chapel AME Church, John F. Kennedy High & Suncoast High in Riviera Beach, FL, Children’s Services Council, Palm Beach County School District, Comprehensive Community Mental Health Association, Palm Beach County Housing Authority, The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund, Michigan State University, Florida Atlantic University, The Urban League and NAACP, Florida State Department of Education, Fannie Lou Hamer Summer Institute in Mathematics, Assault on Illiteracy, Gulfstream Areawide Council on Aging, and many, many more.
Numerous letters and editorials to Black Enterprise, The Brookins Institute, The National Urban League and countless legislators at the Local, State and Federal levels fighting for justice, equity and access nationally and internationally (Sub-Saharan Africa was his focus). He mentored many of his colleagues, students, and others across so many platforms. We are utterly amazed at the scale of outreach and service he delivered over his life.
In a recent conversation I had with my friend Kim, I shared the great news of Dad coming home and all it will entail. We also spoke about my Dad’s rich history of service and outreach over the years. As a result of our conversation, she encouraged me to start a GoFundMe as we talked about the path ahead I, along with my siblings will faithfully take. My conversation with Kim affirmed that he should be around those who care about him and we should engage the community he has cared about and helped over the years. To that end, I am asking our VILLAGE of family, friends, organizations he served, his former students and whomever else to make a financial contribution to our family’s GoFundMe on his behalf. ANY amount (big or small) will be helpful and appreciated.
People who spend their time taking care of others can be at risk of getting burned out, which makes it more difficult to care for others. I recognize this having had my own health challenges as a recent breast cancer survivor. We will honor our father’s wishes to come home and will do our part but need the right team of people to provide the right level of care. We need help with additional care outside of his insurances and our private contributions. We hope you can help. We thank you in advance for taking the time to care.
Tanya Burke on behalf of the Family of Dr. Gerald C. Burke
- Christopher Lemmie
- Shannon Watkins
- Shawnee Lawrence
- Sabrina Knight
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