Woman’s last days eased by teens’ generosity
Automotive-technology students at Corona del Sol High School brought a measure of kindness—and some desperately needed convenience—to a terminally ill woman whose final days were becoming an even larger battle because she lacked a running vehicle to make doctors’ visits or run even short errands.
Tapping into the students’ auto-repair skills, Hospice of Arizona and Dream Foundation collaborated with Corona auto-technology teacher Larry Huff to undertake repairs to patient Vickie Hull’s van, which was returned to her on May 22 in full running order, including its transmission and the previously inoperable AC unit.
Hospice provides end-of-life care; Dream Foundation is the nation’s largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness.
Hull, 62, has been diagnosed with end-stage pulmonary disease and given a limited life expectancy. Due to financial constraints and the absence of family members, she’s had to rely exclusively on neighbors for transportation since her van became inoperable last year.
“Vickie has sleep disturbances related to anxiety, and worries about not being able to care for herself,” her social worker, Sylvia Close, said in an application letter to Dream Foundation.
“Having her van repaired will fulfill Vickie’s goal of living independently for as long as possible.”
While researching the means to make Vickie’s dream come true, the foundation discovered Corona del Sol had a technical education program and discussed it with Huff. Huff responded to the request for help, realizing the repair work would be both a learning opportunity and a life experience for his students.
The students have worked virtually non-stop on the vehicle in class for the past two months and put in extra hours in a final push to make Hull’s dream a reality.
According to Erinn Lynch, Dream Foundation’s director of communications, part of the beauty in fulfilling dreams is the collaborative effect it creates.
Dream recipients are 18 years and older and have been given a limited prognosis of a year or less.
“We love engaging the local communities in our service. It’s a wonderful way people can come together to take care of one another.”