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Making Dreams Come True

When Karen Geller found out her cousin’s son was getting married in Connecticut and she would be invited, she knew with all her heart that she wanted to attend. Getting there, though, was going to be a challenge. Karen, who is a resident of the Good Shepherd Home-Raker Center, is wheelchair-reliant and unable to travel on her own because she also requires help with her daily needs. And, the cost of the trip – food, lodging, transportation – was beyond her means.

For Karen, a pediatric neuropsychologist until multiple sclerosis forced her to quit working in 2011, it was a heart-breaking dilemma. “My cousin said there aren’t many people on the groom’s side, and the idea of having more family members was important to him,” she says.

It was important for Karen, too. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and Karen found a way thanks to the donor-supported Community Access Fund. “I knew that through community access that other residents were able to go on trips for important events, or just fulfill a dream,” says Karen.

Karen took her save the date card for the March 2019 wedding and approached Melinda Guffy, a recreational therapy specialist, asking if community access funds could be used for her to make the trip. Melinda told Karen, “I haven’t failed anyone yet,” in making residents’ dreams come true, and she was determined to do the same for Karen. “Behind the scenes, she managed to get it approved,” says Karen. “I was very excited and so were my cousins.”

It took some planning to arrange for the wheelchair-accessible van, two aides and a hotel that could accommodate Karen’s physical needs. But Melinda did it, and Karen was on her way to the wedding. “I hadn’t gone away since probably 2002.

It was a huge treat to be spending a night away,” says Karen. “To be able to participate in life and the life of your family is phenomenal. It clearly made a great difference to my cousins that I was able to be there, because they knew it was difficult. The ceremony was a traditional Jewish wedding. It was beautiful. I had a wonderful time.”

Take the Year-End Matching Gift Challenge

Nobody knows better than the families of Good Shepherd residents how important it is for their loved ones to get out to restaurants, concerts, shopping, and much more so they can enjoy greater independence. The Community Access Fund makes all that possible.

As in years past, several families have agreed to match funds up to $30,000. Karen’s mother, Bette Ehrenberg, has been a devoted donor to the Year-End Matching Gift Challenge because she knows what an impact it has on people’s lives, like Karen’s.

“When Karen told me that she would be able to go to her cousin’s wedding, I was overjoyed but not surprised,” says Bette. “Good Shepherd always seems to find a way to make good things happen. It would not have been possible without Good Shepherd and the many generous donors who support the Community Access Fund. Your donations make such a difference in the lives of every resident, and they create lifelong memories.“

Karen adds, “When you give to the Community Access Fund, it’s a mitzvah, literally a blessing for the giver as well as the receiver.”

Double your gift and help us reach our goal of $70,000 by taking the Year-End Matching Gift Challenge and sending your tax-deductible donation of $25, $50 or even $100 before December 31. Gifts can be made by clicking here. On behalf of all our long-term care residents, thank you!