Sherry & Jerry - Alaska
As pastor of a small church in Alaska, Jerry and his wife, Sherry, led a quiet, idyllic life. That changed in August 2008, when Jerry's doctor said he was "pretty sure" Jerry had lung cancer.
"We were shocked," said Sherry. After several weeks of testing and a biopsy, the diagnosis was confirmed. On September 21, the couple left Alaska for the VA Puget Sound Health Care System.
For 11 days, the couple lodged in a motel; isolation and loneliness compounding their pre-op concerns. But on the day of Jerry's surgery, Sherry checked into the Fisher House and the difference astonished her.
"Fisher House is the most amazing place! The facility has everything you would ever need to be comfortable. The people in charge are so friendly, concerned and helpful." It was a relief to be saving on living costs, a "financial Godsend" in Sherry's words, but she added, "this place is so much more!"
As one of the first families to come to VA Puget Sound Fisher House, Sherry was one of the first guests to experience the "magic" of Fisher House; how total strangers from different parts of the country and different life experiences become a family.
"Each evening, after spending a long day at the hospital, it was such a blessing to be able to sit around with others that are going through similar problems. These women will always have a very special place in my heart."
After two stays and 177 total days, the couple almost became the mascots for Fisher House. Whenever there was a media request, they were asked to tell their story. And Sherry had enough down time to work on her Wii bowling. Staff awarded her a trophy when she rolled a perfect 300 game!
As much as they missed being home, Jerry and Sherry were comforted to have an extended family at the Fisher House. "The hardest part was that people would come, we'd get close, they'd go home and we'd still be here! But I really can't imagine what it would have been like if I'd had to do this without the Fisher House. We've had the blessing of new friends and all their support, plus the staff who take such good care of us all. We are so thankful."