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Voices of Care Blog
Danielle, right, with sister Denise and Denise's son Tyler, all supporting the Walk for Hospice.
Danielle, right, with sister Denise and Denise's son Tyler, all supporting the Walk for Hospice.

Family Came First for East Boston Man

Posted on April 21, 2022 by Robin Ellington

Daniel Nigro, family man and foodie, loved every major holiday and prepared the menu a month in advance. He and his wife, Loretta, lived in East Boston and raised two daughters, Denise and Danielle. He was blessed with four grandchildren: Ashley, Tyler, Jayden and Sophia. After Daniel retired, he and Loretta moved to Florida, where he lived his dream on the golf course for 16 years. “You could see my dad a mile away on the course because he looked like an Easter egg; he was such a golf fashion plate,” Danielle said.

“For every holiday and celebration, our families were lost among platters of food around the table,” she said. “Sunday dinners were a huge deal, starting at noon and going to 8 at night with a nap in between. My dad was the ultimate family man, and so loved by all.”

Daniel was first diagnosed with cancer in 1997, but it was managed until 2019 when he learned it had spread to his bones. “We knew it was time to bring him back to Massachusetts, so we sold their house in Florida and they moved in with my family,” said Danielle.

Daniel set a 2020 goal to enjoy Christmas and the Italian dinner of Seven Fishes. “That night he told us he wanted quality of life, and asked, ‘If treatment isn’t going to save my life, how much time do I have?’ His doctor told us he had three months and recommended hospice with Care Dimensions,” Danielle continued. “It was a huge relief having their clinical support, caring chaplains, massage therapist and social worker when we needed them. They eased our family’s apprehensions.”

“The interdisciplinary team helps families by easing their concerns through education and support, allowing the family to focus on the patient’s quality of life,” said Social Worker Cheshire Schanker. “This family’s dedication to Daniel was immediately evident as was Daniel’s joy at being able to spend his time with them.”

When Daniel developed pneumonia at the end of February, he was admitted to the Care Dimensions Hospice House to stabilize his condition. “His room had a beautiful view of the water, so beautiful and calm,” Danielle said.

“When Daniel needed the increased medical care of the hospice house, the entire family came along,” Schanker said. “His face would light up when his young granddaughter occasionally peeked into our meetings or when he shared old family stories. Even when Daniel was dealing with greater fatigue and discomfort, the entire family worked hard to ensure his waking hours were spent surrounded by those who loved him. It was my privilege to witness such devoted and loving care.”

Daniel died on March 10, 2021, two months after 78th birthday. “A month later I saw on TV that Care Dimensions was hosting a Walk for Hospice and knew we all had to be part of it. We walked our Walk on Castle Island to see the skyline of East Boston, where my dad grew up.

“We’re proud to tell our story about how Care Dimensions cared for my family; we were honored to participate in the Walk and run our Facebook fundraiser. We raised almost $3,600 for Care Dimensions,” Danielle said. “Donations poured in from family, friends and coworkers and the companies where we work. Everyone knew how much Dad meant to us.

“The Walk for Hospice helps you keep your loved ones’ memory alive, helps your healing and reminds you your loved ones are walking beside you.”

Danielle and the whole family have already registered for this year’s Walk and are anxious to join other families on Walk day to show their support. “We’re already planning to double our fundraising goal this year,” said Danielle. “We’ll see everyone out there!”

You, too, can walk, run, or do whatever fun activity you choose to get moving in support of compassionate care for patients and families, when and where it is convenient for you. Register for or donate to the Walk for Hospice: https://www.CareDimensions.org/walk

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