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Gifts of Hope Beyond Spaulding

Dennis back home with his grandkids
Picture of Julie Hahnke
Julie Hahnke
Julie is the President of Cecropia Strong and is a stroke survivor, who was finally found after three days. She's a bagpiper, an author, a management consultant, and a nature enthusiast.

It seemed like just yesterday when Marblehead’s Church of Christ minister, Dennis Calhoun, announced his retirement and that he and his wife Susan were moving out to Washington state, to be with their grandkids.

It was in April of this year, and by May they were gone. So it was with terrible shock, that we heard at the end of July, Dennis suffered a heart attack! He was at home and his heart stopped. It was only through his wife’s tenacity and professional training  (she’s a nurse) that she was able to maintain CPR for the 20 minutes it took the ambulance to reach them, and to shock his heart into beating.

Dennis’ story is a good one—he came home after just three weeks, and he’ll need ongoing cognitive speech therapy, but he’s alive! We sent Dennis a package that contained a llama (he needed a fuzzy animal to hug), lots of gripper socks, and cards so he could write to all his friends. We sent Dennis hope!

Hope when the future's unclear

We’re constantly faced with such news: someone’s fighting a degenerative disease, someone’s had a sudden attack that’s changed their life, someone’s unexpectedly died. We can’t turn the news off, but we can offer hope, through our Gifts of Hope. It’s a small thing, but it’s something. And that might be enough to make a difference to that person.

Other People We've Helped This Summer

I was calling businesses and asking for donations to our Summer Auction, and Jennifer (one of the business managers) told me about her mother, Ellen, who had a stroke. She’s my age. She’s in a nursing facility that does very little for her. We suggested programs that would help her, and we sent her Gifts of Hope. I haven’t yet visited Ellen, but I will soon! She’s been sitting in a chair since I met Jennifer, which is a big step forward!

I was called by a woman I knew: I piped for her mom’s funeral, and also a friend’s funeral. She explained that her husband David had late stage-4  pancreatic cancer. I arranged for a friend to play for him when he passes, but I also sent him Harbor Sweets chocolates.

Aunt Sharon

My Aunt Sharon is in a nursing facility with advanced dementia. I’ve sent her stuff in the past (her cat’s reaction to the stuffed wolf was entertaining). This time I sent her daughter Harbor Sweet’s chocolates, so that she could take them to her mom and explain who they were from.

I was surprised when my cousin e-mailed me. The news was about her husband. He had a massive heart attack, and he was only 53! He was fine one moment and then dead 5 minutes later.

“I did get the chocolates,” she wrote. “I will take some to mom…might eat a few myself if that is okay?”

I was over at Harbor Sweets yesterday. There’s another package of chocolates (even bigger) on its way to Terrie!

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