A Game to Remember

When a patient’s time is limited, part of our mission is to make sure they are able to make the very most of the time they have left. Our care teams are always looking for ways to provide meaning and joy at a time when many would think that’s impossible. 

This fall, we were honored to fulfill a very special “bucket list” request for 96-year-old Vernice and her family through our Moments to Remember program. Vernice, who has dementia, is supported by our Western Reserve Navigator palliative care program. She lives with her daughter Charlotte, who cares for her full-time in her Amherst home.

Vernice and her husband Mike were married in 1948. The couple raised their family in Lakewood before Mike died in 1997. They would watch Indians games all the time, so Vernice remained a big fan and felt a deep connection to the team. When she mentioned her desire to catch one final game before the team changed its name to the Cleveland Guardians, her WRN care team worked with the agency’s volunteer service managers to make it happen.

Not only were they able to obtain tickets, but through donations from several anonymous donors, they secured a luxury suite right behind home plate for Charlotte, Vernice and several of Vernice’s eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Charlotte laughed when she remembered the day she heard the news. “Well, I’m not going to lie. I thought they were joking,” she related. “But they said: ‘No, this is it.’”
The family arrived at Progressive Field early. Vernice’s excitement grew as game time approached. “They’re winning today! I know it,” she shouted. “My feet are getting hot!” 
Her joy was palpable throughout the game. She cheered excitedly when Jose Ramirez smacked a two-run home run in the first inning. “He’s my favorite,” she said. “He blew me a kiss from the TV once.” She and her family were able to take in a thrilling 6-0 win against the White Sox followed by a fireworks display. 

Charlotte said she has been trying to create memories and celebrate her mother while she can. The family had a very difficult year. Charlotte had heart surgery and her son was battling cancer, so she was really happy to have her family together to enjoy the special memory.

After the game, Vernice was all smiles and tears, too, as the whole family gathered around her to watch the fireworks together. “I want all my family to be here,” she said. "I’m happy. It might be the last time.”
“This is a blessing,” Charlotte added. “It’s fantastic.”  

Our award-winning Western Reserve Navigator program provides at-home symptom management, and makes Moments to Remember possible for patients like Vernice, who are living with a serious advanced illness. It’s one of many unique programs we offer that are not fully reimbursed by Medicare and commercial insurance. If you believe that continuing to live life to the fullest is important, please consider a gift to ensure the program can continue for future generations. Donations may be made online at hospicewr.org/donate. Thank you for your kindness.

We Can Help

Speak with the referral team by contacting us seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Any first visit and admission can be made the first day.

Northern Ohio's Hospice of Choice

More than 1,000 Hospice of the Western Reserve employees and 3,000 volunteers live and work side-by-side in the same neighborhoods with our patients and families. We are privileged to have cared for more than 100,000 Northern Ohioans since our inception.