Thursday, May 31, 2012
Solon woman reunites with sister at Hudson retirement community
Cleveland – Sun Newspapers
By Sun News staff
Sisters Nettie King and Laura Pantale, both in their 90s, had not seen each other in over a year.
Nettie, a Solon resident, was determined to visit Laura, who lives at the Laurel Lake Retirement Community in Hudson. Crossroads Hospice of Cleveland arranged the surprise reunion for its two patients, which became an unforgettable event for the sisters.
The moment Nettie arrived at Laurel Lake and locked eyes with Laura, they were inseparable. Pulling their wheelchairs close, they embraced and held hands, overcome by the long-awaited reunion.
Created by Crossroads Hospice, the “Gift of a Day” program is based on the simple question: “If you only had one day to live, what would it look like?” Staff and volunteers work together to make that perfect day a reality.
The Gift of a Day program was inspired by Jim Stovall’s novel, “The Ultimate Gift.” Blind from age 29 due to a degenerative eye condition, Stovall went on to become an International Humanitarian of the Year, a national Olympic weightlifting champion, Emmy-award winner, world-renowned author and speaker.
“The Gift of a Day program brings out the best in the community, with Crossroads staff, volunteers and area businesses coming together to create special moments,” said Stacie Beck, executive director of Crossroads' Cleveland office. “We’re proud to partner with Laurel Lake Retirement Community to reunite Nettie and Laura.”
To celebrate the day, Nettie and Laura were joined by Nettie’s nieces Pam Vitale and Denise Lacobacci, Laura’s daughter Loretta, and Crossroads Hospice staff and volunteers. Violinist Jamie Vaughn serenaded the guests as they enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs from Zeppe’s Pizzeria. After lunch, Laura ordered a surprise birthday cake, decorated in Nettie’s favorite color, purple, to celebrate her sister’s upcoming birthday June 13.
Crossroads Hospice, along with the activities, social work and music therapy departments of Laurel Lake, assisted in making this special day happen.