Rose Watson, left, and Care Dimensions Hospice Aide Dale Lemure have walked together in the Walk for Hospice since 2007.
Rose Watson and Dale Lemure have an unbreakable bond. Since meeting in 2003, they’ve supported each other through personal and family health crises and this September they’ll walk together in their 14th Care Dimensions Walk for Hospice.
They met when Rose was working at the North Shore Medical Center Cancer Center’s reception desk and Dale was a patient. A breast cancer survivor, Rose related to patients well and made them feel welcome and assured.
“When I was told I had cancer in 1995, I felt like I was kicked in the stomach,” says Rose, who worked more than 30 years in the medical field until retirement in 2014. “I made a commitment to patients that they would be treated with respect and empathy. When I met Dale, I instantly connected and wanted to help her in any way I could.”
“I was being treated for my stage IV uterine cancer and I was scared,” Dale recalls. “It made me feel better to have someone know how scared I was and to support me as a human being. Rose calmed me down with kindness, expertise and her calm demeanor. I am so grateful she was at that desk the whole time. It was like she went through it with me.”
Dale was treated successfully, which she regards as a miracle, and it wouldn’t be until 2007 when the two would cross paths again. It was a year Rose remembers vividly as Tom, her husband of 44 years, was diagnosed with lung cancer in March.
“He was 65 and given two weeks to two months to live,” Rose says. “I was 13 when I met my husband; he was 15. He had always been at my side so this was a lot to take in.”
Hospice at home, and a surprise
Rose wanted her husband at home with her and knew about Care Dimensions hospice care through work, so she contacted them right away. “I also had been inspired by the hospice team at the Kaplan Family Hospice House when I visited the people I knew who came through the Cancer Center,” Rose says. “My patients told me how wonderful Care Dimensions nurses are.”
Tom spent three weeks in the hospital and, thanks to Care Dimensions, Rose was able to bring him home. “He told me he wanted no treatment. The kids and their dad needed to hear what the hospice team had to say, and I needed the kids’ help to convince Tom what his best course of care would be,” she says. “I told Tom, ‘Let the kids be here and let the kids hear what your wishes are.’”
On the day the team hospice aide came to care for Tom, Rose opened the door and whom should she find standing on her doorstep but Dale, a Care Dimensions hospice aide since 2003. “I started crying when I realized it was Rose’s husband I was there to see; I never dreamed it would be her husband,” Dale says. “I wanted to do the best job I could for Tom because Rose inspired me to carry on after my diagnosis.”
“Thanks to the whole Care Dimensions hospice team, Tom was home for another month, surrounded by family, the people who loved him the most,” Rose says. “I took advantage of every service offered by Care Dimensions. I don’t know how my family could have coped without the help of the hospice teams. I particularly thank Richard Scuzzarella, RN, CHPC, for his kindness and the great care he gave to Tom at home and to Kelly at the Kaplan House.”
Rose and Dale decided to support the Care Dimensions Walk for Hospice together. Dale walks for her miracle. Rose walks in memory of Tom and their children, his mother and her father who both had lung cancer, her uncle and her brother-in-law’s dad. “In both my family and my husband’s family we have this in common: cancer.”
In 1980 Tom’s mother died of lung cancer. In 2007 Rose lost Tom. In 2018, their daughter, Kelly Martin, died from lung cancer at age 53, and their son, David, a leukemia survivor, died in 2020 at age 56 from a blood clot in his lung.
“Kelly was cared for in her final days at the Kaplan Family Hospice House, just like my uncle was,” Rose says. “I am so grateful Care Dimensions was with me every step of the way, every time I needed them. I have many good reasons to support Care Dimensions. Now Dale and I are walking our 14th Walk together – my neighbors support the Walk every year, too.
“Isn’t it amazing where life takes you?”
Dale’s team, Lucky Lemures, is supporting the Walk and you can, too, by registering or donating to the Walk for Hospice.
About the author
Robin Ellington is a Communications Specialist for Care Dimensions.