One elderly woman had her dreams come true this weekend with the help of two staff members at Testa Family Hospice House in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.
Ionia Moore, 87, got to build her very own snowman, something she’d been wishing for since Thanksgiving.
“She hasn’t been able to go out or be out in snow or anything,” Moore’s daughter, Cathy Stephens, a nurse at the hospice center, told ABC News. “She’s had several strokes and the last stroke took the ability for her to walk or feed herself or do any of those things.”
Moore also has dementia and has a hard time remembering things. But one thing she never forgot was her desire to get out to play in the snow and build her very own snowman.
“She was watching a Hallmark movie before Christmas and I was taking her some medicine and she looked at me and said, ‘I want to build a snowman,’” Becky Beach, one of Moore’s medication nurses, recalled. “So when they called for snow, I called Cathy and she told us where her warm clothes were to take her out there to build her a snowman.
“She just grinned and giggled the whole time,” she added.
Beach and fellow nurse Melissa Bridges even made sure to place the snowman out Moore’s window when they were finished so she could continue to look at it from her room.
“She has a patio right outside her room so we positioned the table so that whenever she’s lying there she can see it,” said Beach.
Stephens has fond childhood memories of her mom always loving snow. “She was always a homemaker,” she said of her mom, who grew up in neighboring Shelby. “When it snowed when we were younger, she would make ice cream out of the snow for us. She would do stuff like that. That was just special for her.”
Although Stephens wasn’t working the day Beach and Bridges helped make her mom’s day with a simple snowman, she very much appreciates their kind gesture.
“They kept that promise to her and I appreciate what they did for her,” she said, adding, however, that it isn’t just these two nurses who make a difference at the hospice center.
“All of them are special,” said Stephens. “They all do special things for all the patients. It’s the whole hospice, it’s just what we do for our patients. It’s a team effort.”
“This snowman was just a great example of the kinds of things volunteers can come in and help out to do,” said Pam Sharts, the director of marketing and public relations for Hospice of Cleveland County.
She explained that hospice is in great need for more volunteers who can help make these simple requests from their patients come true.
“It was great our staff had time to do that but there’s so many needs like that and we try to make as many as we can happen, but it would be a lot easier if we had volunteers,” said Sharts.
“Some of them cut hair. They paint nails sometimes,” Stephens added of some of the volunteers’ helpful tasks that make a world of difference for their patients.
For more information about the hospice volunteer program, click here.