Zandex’s Heart’s Desire program is modeled after the “Make a Wish” foundation. Every month at every Zandex facility, residents put special wishes into a hat and a wish is drawn out. Most wishes are easy to fulfill: lunch out with a friend; a Sunday visit to the church they attended for years, a trip to a sporting event. But sometimes the wishes are more difficult, like the gentleman who wanted to go Bungee Jumping! Yes—he went! Some of the more remarkable wishes we’ve fulfilled include:
- A Carribean cruise to swim with the dolphins
- A platinum tour of Elvis’s Graceland in Memphis
- A trip to Las Vegas to see the showgirls
- Flying a son in from across the country for a visit
- A trip to a family reunion in Tennesee
- A beach vacation with family to Ocean Isle, North Carolina
“Doc” Warfield was 90 when his heart’s desire was granted. Warfield began goldfing at the age of 7 when he worked as a caddy at the former Zanesville Country Club near ZHS. “Back then not just anybody could play golf,” said Doc, “It was a rich person’s game.” Doc became an assistant golf pro at the Club and stayed with the Club when it moved to its current Military Road location. Golfing 5 to 6 times a week throughout his career, Doc tried to get his wife, Leora, interested in the game. He took her golfing once on a course near Somerset that had a big oak tree on the third hole. Leora made it through the first three holes, but she never passed that oak tree. To this day Leora jokes that she has given the following advice to every woman she has ever known, “if you have the chance, either play golf or don’t get married.” Doc’s heart’s desire was to go golfing one more time. And so the crew at Willow Haven packed off to Vista View golf course to fulfill a dream. Doc had called some of his former golf buddies to come along. Balls were hit, acquaintances renewed, stories were told. According to Doc, it was a perfect day.
Betty Ginikos has been at Willow Haven Care Center since 1999. Betty is very active in craft activities, which she enjoys making for staff and friends. Her heart’s desire was to visit her mother’s grave and place flowers on it. On July 9th, The Willow Haven Crew loaded up the van and went to Pleasant Grove Cemetary where Betty visited her mother’s grave and placed a beautiful bouquet of flowers. By then she had worked up an appetite, so the crew took Betty out to Red Lobster where she enjoyed a lobster and shrimp dinner topped off with a strawberry daquerie. Betty and the waitress seemed to hit it off, and so after pictures were taken, the restaurant gave her a handful of lobster necklaces and a daquerie glass like the one she had drunk from as souvenirs of her visit.
Eva Jones came to Willow Haven quite by accident. Eva was traveling through the area as part of a religious caravan from Florida. She came on a mission to spread her faith, but while in Zanesville, Eva became ill and required short-term rehab after her stay in the hospital. Eva quickly won the hearts of everyone around her with her upbeat, lively personality and the kindness she showed to fellow residents and staff alike. As her rehab came to a successful end, her only wish was to return to Florida. However, Eva had no children and only a niece in Florida who was not well herself and could not make the journey to pick Eva up. With the assistance of the Angel Foundation and Willow Haven, Eva was able to fly to Florida accompanied by one of our nurses where she was safely installed in her home.
Bobbie Freshwater had not seen her daughter Linda McElfresh for nearly two years when she decided on her heart’s desire. Bobbie said, “it would be worth whatever I have to go through to see my daughter again.” Linda lives in an assisted living residence in Mansfield and has been unable to visit Bobbie. So a trip to Mansfield was planned. Bobbie was so excited when they were loading up to go. “It really is a dream come true.” she said. they traveled to Mansfield through the beautiful Ohio countryside and finally reached Linda’s facility. Mother and Daughter hugged, cried and got caught up on each other’s lives. They shared the better part of the day together and during the visit got an extra bonus when granddaughter Molly showed up.
When Hermani Newton came to Willow Haven, her only wish was to walk again so that she could return home. She worked hard to get back on her feet, but began to miss the family activities with husband Jeff and daughter Sarah. So Willow Haven decided to set them up for a typical Newton Family activity–Fishing! Hermani said she would love nothing more than to go out to lunch with Jeff and Sarah and spend the afternoon fishing. After lunch at Golden Corral, the group set out to buy night crawlers (apparently the favorite food of Licking River fish) and headed to the fishing hole. The afternoon was spent doing more talking, joking and laughing than catching fish, but at the end of the day Hermani ended up with the three monster fish you see pictured below. Somehow, though, it seemed the time with family was more important than the catch–and that’s not a fish story! Just one week later, Hermani was able to walk out of the facility on her own and return home–two wishes granted.