Doneen is in a rare group of caregivers. She’s in the group of caregivers that has had to do this multiple times; but not with the same person.
On Thursday June 16, 1994 her husband Chris had a seizure at work and was rushed to a local hospital. Their friends were kind enough to keep their two-year-old daughter, Allie, so Doneen could be with Chris in those uncertain moments. She was with him as they received the diagnosis: a brain tumor. The treatment would be surgery, but Chris would have to stay in the hospital over Father’s Day weekend before his surgery on Monday. That weekend was painful, but as their community rallied around Chris and Doneen, she prayed harder than she had in a long time, keeping her faith as they stared together into the unknown territory ahead. After surgery, Doneen was strong and courageous as she helped Chris on his road to recovery and cared for their daughter. Surely this was a combination of some of the most challenging parts of life, yet she tackled it with grace; caring for her husband and parenting a two-year-old. In the days ahead Doneen was determined to help Chris not feel as if he had lost his independence. She drove him everywhere until the state-mandated six months from his seizure had passed. And Doneen made sure to involve Allie in the caregiving; having Allie spend time with Chris at every opportunity. Chris’ tumor turned out to be a microcystic meningioma and his recovery has gone well.
In 2016 Doneen faced the unthinkable. She became a caregiver for the daughter whose first memories are watching her mother take care of her father. Allie was diagnosed with an ependymoma tumor in late 2016. The journey to cancer free is still on-going as Allie faces treatment for newly diagnosed tumors. Doneen continues to pray like she’s never prayed before for her two survivors. Her faith is strong even in the moments when she feels weak.
Doneen, you are the greatest partner a husband could ask for in this journey we’re tackling together. Thank you for being my chauffeur, for washing my scalp (while keeping my sutures dry), for walking along side Allie in the same way and for always praying for us. You have been a World Class Caregiver–two times. Your strength and determination are unsurpassed, and you should be inducted into the Hall of Faith!
Mom, watching you do this time and time again hurts my heart, but I couldn’t ask for God to bless me with a better mother. Thank you for sitting beside our hospital beds, making sure we never feel alone, praying for our bodies to heal and for encouraging us that God’s going to take care of us. Thank you for always fixing our hair and holding our hands. We love you!