With the many advances in care and treatments, today’s patients have more and more reasons to expect the best outcomes. Here are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.
In tight-knit families, one member’s ordeal is everyone’s burden. This was the experience of the late JoAnn Denney Fisher and her family.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer in the spring of 2020, JoAnn spent 16 months in the care of McLeod Hospice before passing away in August 2021. In many ways during that time, McLeod Hospice also draped her husband Raymond, her daughters Amy Fisher Urquhart and Carrie Fisher Sherard, and their children with the mantle of compassionate care.
Hospice care is a specialty within medicine. Rather than attempting to cure patients of their terminal diagnoses, hospice focuses on helping them manage their symptoms and enjoy their remaining days to the fullest.
Amy, Carrie and Raymond praise McLeod Hospice staff for their care of JoAnn’s body, dignity and spirit. “Not only were mom’s physical needs met,” Amy remembers, “they walked with her side by side to help her psychologically navigate the process of dying. The staff were more than caregivers; they were mom’s social network in a time when COVID-19 created isolation and strained relationships.”
But the lasting impact on the Fisher family would be the emotional care that they too received from McLeod Hospice as they journeyed with JoAnn through her life’s final chapter.
“Her nurse Olivia Timmons was terrific,” Amy reflected. “She counseled all of us through the different stages of mom’s treatment and helped us know what to expect.”
Hospice staff became a rock for the family and provided tailored emotional support and grief counseling. This was extended even to JoAnn’s grandchildren, whose young ages required delicate guidance as they processed the difficult and mixed emotions surrounding death.
For Carrie, who lives in Greenville, South Carolina, having such responsive and trusted providers only a phone call away lessened the physical distance and gave her peace of mind. “Knowing I could get a daily accurate update, for better or worse, was a comfort to me. Having that kind of access helped me remain prepared and enabled.
“Leah Howell, mom’s social worker, was there with us when mom passed away,” Carrie continued. “She was a comforting presence during mom’s final moments, retelling family stories, laughing and crying with us as if she were a family member. Although it is unusual for a stranger to be present in such an intimate time, she was no stranger to us. I believe mom felt it was okay to finally let go, knowing that we were all there.”
Their experience with McLeod Hospice prompted JoAnn’s family to sponsor a Hospice Tree Endowment through the McLeod Health Foundation. This type of gift not only funds Hospice services for future patients, but beautifully adorns the campus of McLeod Regional Medical Center with festively lit trees each December.
Amy and Carrie feel the Hospice Tree Endowment is the perfect way to honor their mother because it combines her love of Florence and serving others. JoAnn loved the Hospice tree lights so much that she used to take a different way home from work every day just so she could drive down Cheves Street and enjoy them.
“Mom was a physical therapist who loved caring for people in their homes, just like McLeod Hospice cared for her,” Amy recalls.
“She always wanted to help people and was such a magnanimous person. Hospice patients are underdogs,” Carrie concluded. “And mom was a champion of underdogs.”
Thanks to the generosity of community members like the Fisher family, McLeod Hospice and the lights on the Hospice trees will continue filling hearts with comfort.