A Family Affair
Like a lot of sisters, Sandy Szopinski and Ellen Cook look forward to spending time together. In fact, they have a standing lunch date every Tuesday at St. Ann Center, and their mutual BFF (best furry friend) joins them.
Sandy, a client at the Stein Campus for the past four years, breezes from one activity to another in her power wheelchair. “She’s involved in so many great programs at St. Ann Center,” Ellen, a professional photographer, said. “I wanted to find a way my dog, Sofie, and I could help out here.” Ellen registered her charismatic Bearded Collie as a St. Ann Center pet volunteer, and Sofie instantly became a shaggy celebrity.
In exchange for treats, she will speak, give high fives and snuggle. “One young client was having a difficult day, so I lifted Sofie up so he could pet her,” Ellen recalled. “He immediately relaxed.”
“Sandy is happy that her family has become such a fun part of her life at St. Ann Center.” – Ellen Cook
Although having cerebral palsy can make things difficult, she said, “I feel at home here.” Living in a senior apartment complex just blocks from the Stein Campus, Sandy takes a van to the center five days a week. “I look forward to the whirlpool baths and massages,” she said. She gets haircuts and manicures at the center’s beauty salon and enjoys making jewelry and ceramic pieces.
Recently, Sandy had her first appointment at the Gardetto Family Community Dental Clinic at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus. “The staff was nice and very respectful,” she said. Ellen added, “There are few options for someone with CP and other disabilities to receive dental care.”
St. Ann Center allow Sandy to live independently with dignity as she ages. Ellen said. “It’s a place where she is well cared for–where she can socialize and do things she enjoys with people she likes.”I’m thrilled Sofie and I can be part of this experience.”
Sandy and Ellen’s story is just one example of how your connection to St. Ann Center helps enhance the lives of people of all ages and abilities. In the October-December issue of Seasons of Life, you will find more stories of the difference generous people like you are making at St. Ann Center every day.