When a devoted parent is diagnosed with a terminal illness, unfinished business can lead to lots of worry and sleepless nights. Jacey, a mother to four and grandmother to seven, thought of her family first when she received the news of her cancer diagnosis. She wanted to be there to celebrate her children and grandchildren’s’ accomplishments and to support them through life’s challenges. Jacey was devastated to consider that cancer could interfere with her being there for them the way she had always been.
Jacey’s social worker, Stephanie, from Mary Lanning Cancer Center in Grand Island knew that Jacey needed something to hold onto to give her hope and regain a sense of control. She talked with Jacey about a smaller, achievable goal that would help her feel better in the face of these overwhelming circumstances. Through tears, Jacey shared a goal that was at the top of her bucket list: to celebrate her youngest son’s high school graduation.
Hunter, a senior at Northwest High School in Grand Island, is on track to graduate in May. Hunter loves cars, especially Mustangs, and Jacey is so proud of the man that he is becoming. Stephanie encouraged Jacey to shift her energy from worrying about what was beyond her control to planning the perfect party to celebrate Hunter’s accomplishments. Party planning was exactly what Jacey needed to feel more like herself! She immediately sprang into action and coordinated senior pictures, reserved a hall, and secretly started collecting Hunter’s old t-shirts to have a quilt made for his graduation gift. Having a date on the calendar and busying herself with taking care of something for her child was the perfect distraction from her daily battle with cancer.
When Jacey transitioned to hospice in December, Stephanie realized it was unlikely that she would survive long enough to attend the May party. Stephanie contacted Dreamweaver to see if we could help with coordinating the party sooner, and of course we were happy to lend a hand!
Thanks to Jacey’s hard work and how well-loved she is in her community, rescheduling the party for January was a simple task. The United Veterans Club in Grand Island made sure that Jacey had the room she had requested, and Guero’s Food Truck, rearranged their schedule so they could be there to cater Hunter’s favorite Carne Asada Fries! Jacey’s daughter, Kylie, spread the word about the party and took the lead on decorating, and Jacey’s sister, a master baker, made cupcakes for an army.
Jacey and Hunter felt the love on January 8th when more than 150 people showed up to extend their support and celebrate Hunter’s achievements! Jacey beamed with pride as she watched her son welcome guests. Despite the circumstances, the party was everything that Jacey had hoped for, and she felt a wave of peace wash over her as she looked around the room, realizing that she would finally be able to sleep well knowing that things were taken care of.
Dreamweaver Foundation would like to thank Mary Lanning Cancer Center in Grand Island for introducing us to Jacey through the nomination process. We would also like to thank United Veterans Hall and Guero’s Food Truck in Grand Island for accommodating our request on short notice, and for Sav’s Photography for their help with capturing the hopeful spirit in room and memories that Hunter and his family will cherish forever.