The reason we work so hard to support our cause is because of the wonderful people we are able to help. Here are a few of the stories of some of our friends. There are many ways you can assist us in helping. If you are touched by any of these stories, please investigate the ways you can help by clicking here.
From the age of seven, Andy loved sports, especially baseball. When it came to school work and studying, he could care less. But baseball, that was something else. Maybe it was because Andy had always been big and strong for his age, or maybe it was because none of his teachers realized that his reading skills were hampered by the fact that he was dyslexic, but whatever the reason, he focused his energies on the thing that he was good at and best loved and understood, sports.
Andy was a good pitcher. But in one game, he hurt his arm so severely that his prospective baseball career came to an abrupt end.
Out of school, trying to make up for his disappointments, Andy became a workaholic holding down three jobs. His fatigue and high blood pressure failed to slow him down. Andy now says, “from the time I was nineteen till I was thirty five when I had my stroke, I was continuously partially drunk or high on different street drugs.” His stroke left Andy paralyzed on his left side.
Through physical therapy, determination and learning to live with his reality, Andy now lives a full life. He is thankful that our Bridge of Hope effort has been able to assist him in many ways including helping him to realize his goal of getting out of a nursing home into an independent living situation.
While never being fond of academic endeavors as a youth, he is now deeply involved in creative writing including writing his autobiography. It is a joy to see how much pleasure Andy gets out of his writing.
Twelve years ago Kathy was in a terrible automobile accident. She almost died and was in a coma for over eleven months. Kathy is very bright and articulate. Although the accident left her with traumatic brain injury, she exudes cheerfulness and enthusiasm.
Kathyâs father was a nuclear physicist and her mother owned an art gallery. She excelled in high school and graduated early. She loved animals as a youth and that led to her involvement with riding and showing horses. She also became a co-owner of several dog training clinics. For a number of years before her accident she worked as a professional deep sea sunken treasure diver with a world famous ocean archaeologist treasure hunter. She was involved in establishing three different Marine Sunken Treasure Museums.
Our family of nursing home resident friends comes from all walks of life. Whether they have been house wives, lawyers, pilots, physicians, university professors, carpenters or whatever, each are unique, interesting and valuable individuals. What a joy and privilege it is to share with these wonderful people!
Drew was born in Roseville California in 1960. While still an infant, the family moved to San Jose California where his machinist father accepted a new job. Drew grew up in San Jose and at school he was a good student. In his last year of high school, Drew started having disabling headaches. Even though the headaches grew worse, Drew persevered and graduated.
In 1985, at the age of twenty five, after more severe headaches and the onset of epilepsy, Drew was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
While living in a nursing home, Drew grew increasingly frustrated over wanting to live independently. Through the help of The Bridge of Hope Foundation, Drew finally realized his dream of living independently.
Drew is much happier in his new situation. With the help of a social worker who calls on him weekly, he is now able to do many things on his own. He now reads books, goes to movies and the library, shops and does volunteer work at his church.
Frank’s faith has always played a prominent role in his life. He was born in Syracuse, New York where as a youth he was an alter boy in the Catholic Church that he and his Italian relatives attended. In high school, Frank discovered his love for art and his artistic abilities. After attending a local commercial art/design college, he enrolled in The University of California Santa Cruz where he graduated with a B.A. in Art.
Art and painting continue to play a major role in Frank’s life. In his small nursing home room, Frank spends many hours painting various subjects. One rewarding Bridge of Hope project was that of helping Frank frame and place some of his art work in a local Cafe.
Frank says, “whether on the battle field in Viet Nam or here in the nursing home where I battle with my frustration and sadness, I find that my faith in God gives me the strength I need. See my paintings on my room wall? They express my love for God, for people and life. I spend hours many days looking out my window at the trees and birds. I like to share bread crumbs with the birds. I have a lot to be thankful for.”
Like other nursing home friends, Frank is like a loved family member.
Everywhere Denis goes, he spreads hope and good cheer. But there was a time when he could not do that. Denis was born in San Francisco in 1933. He made his living as a carpenter and as a house painter. At that time, nursing home life was far removed from his thinking. Being strong and athletic, he did a lot of surfing, skiing and playing of tennis.
Denis says, “For at least two years after my accident, I was angry at God and wanted to die. Then one day, I turned my thinking around. I now am thankful for all the good things I have and I now praise God in my heart.”
Part of Denisâs healing process came out of his discovered writing ability. He started writing and has never stopped. Denis is the nursing home journalist. He writes uplifting, faith building poetry and stories about many aspects of life and distributes his word pictures to residents and others to encourage them. He also is a good verbal story teller and has a great sense of humor.