Friday, May 20, 2016 2:03 PM

Employee honors mother and pays it forward

After losing her mother recently, one of our employees wanted to honor her in a way that captured her mother Helen Madeline Hanus’ spirit and also pay forward the special care she had received while in the hospital. Her memorial to her mother is a scholarship that encourages our Community Medical Centers’ patient care assistants to reach for their educational dreams. This employee also wanted to be anonymous. But here are her inspiring words about her mother and a gift designed to help PCAs grow their careers at Community:

Helen Madeline Hanus
“My mother Helen loved to learn and she was very proud of her kids when they took classes, received degrees, or went back to school for training or certifications. When Helen's only son told her he was going back to finish his bachelor’s degree in his late 50s she said, ‘Good for you!’ and she meant it.
“Helen never had the chance to go to college; she finished high school, got a job, got married, raised five kids and took care of our family for 65 years. But along the way she never stopped learning and never stopped encouraging to her children in their education.
“When we were thinking about how best to provide a gift to encourage education, a memory came back about a one particular hospital experience my mother had been through. She lived the last half of her life with spinal problems, and osteoporosis. She ended up fracturing a vertebrae by simply bending over to tie her shoe. She was rushed to the hospital, where she spent ten days dealing with a lot of pain. She told us that an angel came to her room every other day to give her a bed-bath. Since Mom sometimes had a reaction to narcotics, we weren't sure if she was imagining this, but when we asked who it was, she described the gentle caring personality of the day shift nurse assistant.
“This young woman was so careful with mom, she spoke in a soft voice, and would stop what she was doing at the mere hint of any pain as she bathed her or helped reposition her pillow. My mom gave us instructions to buy the prettiest thank-you card we could find so that she could write a note to thank this PCA for her kindness. This young woman didn't know it, but she was a quiet hero to our mother. We all hoped that someday she would become a nurse, or a doctor, because that level of selflessness and caring is very special.
“So this scholarship is just a way to pay it forward to all the kind-generous loving patient care assistants who are also quiet heroes, and give them a small start on their path to pursuing big dreams.
“My mother would tell whoever receives a scholarship to: ‘Believe in yourself! Never give up.’ She wouldn't care if they pursued an education in computer science, or nursing, or social work or engineering, or literature.  But she would say not to limit what you think you can do because others are always eager to do that for you. She would say: ‘Have courage and believe in yourself!’ So that's what this gift is meant to accomplish. It's a small gift of money to instill a big dose of confidence that you can achieve what you set your mind to.  That in a nutshell is the belief system that Helen passed on to me and my siblings. And if she were here, she'd pass it on to you too.”
The generosity of our anonymous employee helps us attract and retain the best and brightest caregivers for our patients. Her gift will provide 12 $2,000 scholarships and $250 for four recipients to help offset the cost of fees and books.
If you are a patient care assistant at Community who needs a little help to go further with your professional goals and educational dreams, please go to the “Employee Giving” page on Forum under the Corporate Initiatives tab and click “Donor-funded Employee Scholarships” for instructions on how to apply for the Helen Madeline Hanus Scholarship for PCAs.
Erin Kennedy
Sr. Communications Specialist
Corporate Communications