For many, the word hospice brings pain, sadness, and fear of the unknown. But for Kimberly Ross, working in hospice care provides a sense of something deeper.
“It’s fulfilling for me and rewarding to be able to help and to know that I was able to help someone,” said Ross.
Ross is an aid at Gilchrist Kids Hospice Care. There she provides help and support to families going through unimaginably hard times because she knows firsthand what they’re dealing with.
“Being as though I lost a child, for me it kind of made it hard at first,” said Ross. “But then realizing that I was able to help other people is what made it easier for me.”
Back in 2003, Ross’ daughter was born prematurely at 23 weeks. Unfortunately, she did not make it. It took years of sorting through pain and anger before Ross was able to channel her grief into her new passion of helping others.
“I think that takes her to a whole other level with these families because they are looking for other people who have been through what they’ve been through and survived,” said Erin Bull, a pediatrics registered nurse with Gilchrist Kids. “She can say look at me. I’ve been through this sadness and anger and the fear and I’m ok. And not only am I ok but I’ve chosen to give back and do this work.”
It’s that message that has helped dozens of families feel comfortable with Ross.
“That definitely made us smile to leave our son home with someone we know would be make sure that he’s taken care of,” said Telicia Collick.
Collick and her family made the difficult decision to bring their son Elijah to Gilchrist Kids after battling cancer for 10 years. It was a decision they would not regret.
“She just made us feel very comfortable,” said Andre Pully. “She came in and was like she took over. He became her child as oppose to him being our child.”
Unfortunately, Elijah loss his battle to cancer this past March. Even when he was longer a patient, that didn’t stop Ross and the Gilchrist team from lending a helping hand.
“We definitely have our days when it gets tough,” said Pully. “But we also continue to get support from Kim and the folks at Gilchrist. They call us quite frequently to check in just to make sure that we’re ok.”
Ross was able to find a greater sense of purpose by turning her sadness into healing.
“Now looking back at it, there was a reason why I went through it,” said Ross. “I’m grateful that it was an experience that I had to go through to get me where I am now”
Gilchrist provides so much not only to the families that use their services, but also those who decide to give back and help. They are always looking for donations and volunteers to continue to help comfort those in need.