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Gary Crook started having unexplainable symptoms such as breathing trouble and he also fell a few times. An emergency room visit and subsequent hospital stay revealed the father of two had ALS.  Upon his discharge from Frazier Rehabilitation Center, Gary was referred to Hosparus. After his admission, he began receiving hospice care in the Fern Creek home he shared with his wife, Karen, and their two young children, Dylan and Jordan.

Karen says, “With Hosparus, it was the greatest experience in the midst of horrible tragedy.”

She adds, “It was a horrible winter last year and, thanks to Hosparus, Gary didn’t have to leave our house for more than three months. It was too cold for him and with his electric wheelchair; we didn’t know how we were going to move him.”

Even before Gary’s death last April, David Mitchell, a bereavement counselor at the Hosparus Grief Counseling Center, began meeting with Dylan, 12, and Jordan, 9, to help them understand and deal with their father’s illness. The two also participated in art therapy at the Center. “It helped them to be able to talk to someone they didn’t know who could answer their questions and listen objectively,” says Karen.

Last fall, Karen and her children attended Camp Evergreen and are currently participating in the Grief Counseling Center’s Family Connections Group. “It’s been very helpful for Jordan and Dylan to talk to other kids going through similar situations. I’m now attending a special group for widows with young children and it’s helping,” says Karen.

She concludes, “We look at death as a ‘negative’ but Hosparus takes that negative and turns it into a positive experience.”

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