In 1989, our March Aide of the Month, Cindy Day, was working as a college snack bar cashier, while helping take care of her father, who was struggling with cancer. After two years of battling the disease, which started in his thyroid and spread to his lungs, Cindy’s father Gordon was losing the fight. As he lay dying in the hospital, Cindy never leaving his side for four days, he said to her, “Cindy, I have one wish for you. Why don’t you go on to be a nurse like you always wanted?”
That was the motivation Cindy needed. Her childhood dream to become a nurse may never have come true without those life-changing words. “I’ve always been interested in taking care of people, trying to make them comfortable, just caring for people and being there when they need you.” Cindy went on to become a Licensed Nurse Practitioner, a career she loved and pursued with all her heart.
After 31 years working in nursing homes, however, Cindy was ready for retirement. Constant nurse and aide staff shortages in the group home setting led Cindy to be required to work double and, sometimes, even, triple shifts. The dangers of such an exhausting schedule were beginning to take their toll on Cindy, and even though she loved the work, she knew she was ready for a change. After retiring, she found CCOR and the rewards of a part-time job in home care.
Caregiving has not only been a rewarding career, but it has given her a valuable perspective as well. “When see you somebody struggling,” she says, “it makes you appreciate what you have, the health that you have, and not take every day for granted or your family for granted.” Cindy makes the most of her health and her family as often as she can, enjoying travel and the outdoors.
Gordon not only gave his daughter the gift of a fulfilling career, but a fulfilling life. He fostered her love of travel by taking his five children on summer vacations that explored every tourist attraction in the United States. To this day, Cindy loves the freedom of travel and has been to every state but Alaska (and that’s definitely on her bucket list).
Gordon’s influence and his dying words made an impact on Cindy, who has, herself, made an impact on countless people. “It’s hard to know what the future would have been. I don’t think I would have gone to school if he didn’t say what he did. That was what pushed me.” Although he didn’t live to see it, we’re thankful he recognized the promise in Cindy of a beautiful career in compassion.