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One More Dance
By the time Dennis Heston was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in June of 2012, the disease had metastasized, spreading to his bones. The 51 year-old Navy Veteran soldiered through a taxing round of radiation and chemotherapy before ultimately deciding to discontinue curative treatment and enter hospice care. Because Dennis’s pain was so challenging to manage, he was treated both at home and at the Somers Hospice House, a freestanding, inpatient facility operated by Good Shepherd Hospice in Sebring, Fla. Good Shepherd Hospice is an affiliate of Chapters Health System.
While Dennis was under the care of hospice, his daughter Alaina became engaged in the outdoor gazebo at Somers Hospice House. As his disease progressed, she realized her gregarious and loving dad was unlikely to make it to her wedding, planned for the following spring. The idea of planning a father-daughter dance was born. She borrowed a wedding dress and asked her cousin to film this special event.
A nearby ballroom served as the perfect setting for one last dance between a loving daughter and her beaming father, something Dennis was able to experience and enjoy thanks to expert pain management provided by hospice.
Dennis passed away on December 9, 2012; one month after the dance was filmed. He was 52 years old. The video, which captured their special moment, was shown at Alaina’s wedding the following March. Her mother and brothers walked her down the aisle.
Alaina says hospice helped pull her family closer together. Their greatest relief was seeing their father’s pain brought under control by the hospice team, allowing him to experience his remaining moments of life without suffering. And she will never forget that dance.
To learn more about Good Shepard Hospice, click here.
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