High school musical brightens day for Mercy New Life Hospice patient

Laughter and music often comfort and enrich the lives of patients, even during their most difficult times. In the case of 87-year-old Betty Jo Wolf, a patient of Mercy New Life Hospice and Amherst Manor resident, attending her only granddaughter’s performance in a high school play is all it took to bring a smile back to her face. And, according to her son, Shawn Wolf, Betty Jo spoke for the first time in many weeks after watching the Amherst Steele High School freshman dance her way through the musical “Guys and Dolls” on Friday, April 21.

“Mom had not talked except to say ‘no’ on occasion after her stroke in March, but after seeing Regina perform, she said ‘wonderful’ and ‘fantastic,”’ said Shawn. “She just seemed to be energized by seeing her in the show. She watched with a smile on her face.”

Betty Jo has followed Regina’s talent as a dancer and musician throughout her life and has rarely missed a performance. “Betty Jo was present at most of Regina’s recitals and shows, so we knew it would be important for her to see Regina make her debut in a high school play,” said Sandy Wolf, daughter-in-law. “We are so thankful that the staff at Mercy New Life Hospice – and in particular Miriam Henderson-Rucker – for finding safe transportation so she could attend.”

Miriam, a licensed social worker for Mercy New Life Hospice, knew this was an especially meaningful performance, so she contacted several agencies to find one that could safely move Betty Jo in her upright wheelchair to and from the performance.

“As a new grandmother, I understand how grandchildren impact your life, so I made it my mission to get Betty Jo to the musical,” explained Miriam. “She has been very involved in her grandchildren’s lives, so we thought it would be uplifting for her to have this experience.”

Sandy says that her mother-in-law has been a patient of Mercy New Life Hospice since March, when her physical health began to fail. She has become increasing fragile after having a stroke, which has resulted in further health complications. “This is a woman who has given her life to others – as a caregiver to children and her husband – so we want to do all we can to ensure she knows that she is loved. Throughout her life, she has been a woman of great faith and has provided happiness to countless individuals.”  

“As a hospice provider, Mercy is committed to finding small ways we can make a difference in a patient’s and families’ time with us,” continued Miriam. “Discovering a way to help a patient reconnect is so rewarding to those of us who work with patients in Hospice care.”

Since this outing, according to Sandy, Betty Jo’s health has improved. “We credit her progress to being able to have this experience. Miriam’s kindness is something we will never forget. It meant the world to our family.” 

Mercy New Life Hospice provides in-home and inpatient care that focuses on what matters - peace, comfort and the courage to face this sacred journey – not only for those with a life-limiting illness, but for their loved ones, as well. Our mission at Mercy New Life Hospice is to provide the best possible care to patients and their families who are dealing with the realities of terminal illness. For more information on services available, please call 440-934-1458 or visit us online at Mercy.com.