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Living with purpose

  • Date Submitted: Sep 21, 2023
  • Category: Patient Testimonial

John lived alone after the passing of his beloved wife of 53 years. John learned he had advanced lung cancer within a year following her death. John came to Parrish Medical Center for a variety of treatments.

John was a kind-hearted and humorous man. He brought joy and laughter every time he entered the Infusion Center. John always had a joke, or a story to share. He was high-energy and positive with everyone he encountered. Many times, his sister, Andrea, who brought him to the Infusion Center would, with a smile and giggle, remind John to keep it down and behave.

Care Partners Shannon Luker, RN along with Staci Fleming, RN, cared for John. They knew that joking was his way of coping with his diagnosis, and the profound grief he was suffering from the loss of his wife. They listened to many stories of their marriage and the woman John loved dearly. Many times, they cried together.

John was a veteran. Through his service, John said, that he learned structure and integrity. He was loyal to his religious beliefs and his church. Even in poor health, John was adamant to attend services. Every Sunday, John could be found sitting in the second pew, a seat he shared with his wife for many years.

“He made me see the joy of life through darkness,” Staci said.

Shannon said, “John was so dedicated to his wife, family and friends; it made me want to be dedicated to him.”

When John left PMC to spend his final days at Hospice of St. Francis, Shannon visited him. She brought him a beautiful hand-made quilt donated by the Space Coast Quilters Guild. The Guild delivers to the Infusion Center many hand-made quilts to share warmth and comfort to cancer patients receiving infusion treatments. Often, the treatments can last for several hours and the quilts are a treasured amenity that we can provide to our patients thanks to the generosity of the Space Coast Quilters’ time and talents, of which, we are incredibly grateful.

And, John was extremely grateful to Shannon for the kind gift. It was fitting a gift, because, like John, the quilts provide warmth and comfort to the lives they touch. John said of his life that it was a life well-lived; a life with purpose and love. He wishes that for everyone.