Tippett Home for Terminally Ill a Source of Support for Family Facing Cancer
Sisters (left to right) Brenda Farragher, Melissa Rober,
and Donna McCall
It was Christmas Day when Melissa Rober’s family noticed something wasn’t right. Their fun-loving, adventurous sister seemed disoriented and wasn’t acting like herself.
She’d spent the past five years fighting advanced breast cancer — a double mastectomy and reconstruction, chemotherapy, and radiation. Through it all, Melissa “just kept going and going,” said her sister Brenda Farragher.
Melissa traveled the world in her role as a vice president at a Boston investment management firm. “She loved meeting people. She went to two weddings in Italy, skydiving, skiing, tennis, all after her diagnosis,” added Brenda.
The cancer had spread to Melissa’s brain. This independent woman just couldn’t manage by herself anymore. She decided to seek hospice care and learned about the Stanley R. Tippett Home through a friend. Melissa moved into the residence on New Year’s Eve day.
Brenda recalled a trip to the Tippett Home “was like going to a friend’s house. It was great.” The staff and volunteers got to know Melissa and her three sisters, her brother, their spouses, and her two nephews and three nieces. “Whatever we or Melissa needed, the staff and volunteers were there.”
The other patients, families, and friends supported each other during their time at the home. “You’re not the only one going through it. They are in the same boat, feeling what you are feeling. … It was a great support,” said Brenda.
Melissa’s dog Max was one of the frequent visitors, who got everyone at the house laughing and smiling. “Melissa loved that dog. … His visits made her so happy,” said Brenda.
The homelike setting, compassionate care, and supportive environment made all the difference to Melissa and her family during their final months together. Melissa passed away nearly three months later at the age of 43.
Looking back on this time, Brenda has no question about what she would do if she found herself in a similar position. She said, “I would want to be at the Tippett Home.”
For More Information
To learn more about hospice or request the free booklet Choosing Hospice, call VNA Care Network & Hospice at 800-728-1862 or use the contact us form.
VNA Care Network & Hospice is trying to raise $2 million for renovations at the Tippett Home. Learn more about the capital campaign.