Before He Drew His Last Breath
Before he drew his last breath, Francis “Bud” Greune received a gift—to die with dignity surrounded by family.
“He was 89 and living at River’s Run when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer,” says his daughter, Debra Dewey, senior financial assistant at RIT’s Center for Recreation and Intramurals. “We were told he had three weeks to live and a social worker at Highland Hospital mentioned Serenity House, a United Way-funded comfort care facility in Victor."
“I have always supported United Way but never thought I’d benefit from their services.”
Greune was a Purple Heart WWII veteran who lost his lower right leg on a landmine in France at the age of 22. “Dad didn’t let anything stop him; he became a lawyer, a toastmaster and taught speech and communication courses,” says Dewey. “He was also a member of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.”
Dewey says the cost to give her father around-the-clock care would have been astronomical. “Serenity House was a blessing. Two days before Dad died last March we rolled his bed outside to the deck and had a party. It was just like being home.”
Julie Covey Still Believes in Santa Claus
Julie Covey still believes in Santa Claus, but the real miracle is that she is alive. She weighed a pound and a half when she was born at 25 weeks, 34 years ago.
“Her premature birth caused a subsequent brain hemorrhage—with lasting effects such as seizures, learning development problems and cerebral palsy on the left side,” says her mother, Kathy Estabrooks, who works in student services at RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business.
Since the age of 3, Julie has benefited from services provided by ARC of Livingston-Wyoming Counties, and is now employed in a sheltered workshop at Hilltop Industries in Mt. Morris.
“She gets a paycheck, which she is proud of, and likes the consistency and repetition of doing a job,” says Estabrooks. “ARC has been and always will be a part of her life thanks to United Way.”
Julie undergoes occupational therapy and still has occasional seizures, but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying country music, Home Alone 2, bowling, McDonald’s, emailing and calling friends, or recreational activities and parties, says her mom.
“Julie is very social; she keeps us young.”