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A Hospice Patient and Her Cat

Stephanie Sonju / Sonju Photography

How an Internet community came together to help a hospice patient.

Optimism doesn't always come easily, especially on days when tragedy dominates the news.

But sometimes, one person's good works make the world seem lovely again … and if that person inspires a community, the effect is multiplied.

That's precisely what happened in Florida recently when an online community came together to help a hospice patient named Joan Price. Though we're saddened by Price's health issues, it's hard not to smile when thinking about the caring souls who brought her happiness during a difficult time.

Price's health had been on a long decline since she contracted hepatitis from a blood transfusion 40 years ago, but in winter 2014, her condition deteriorated. After being rushed to the hospital, she was taken directly to hospice and given just a few months to live. She became despondent, but not for herself – she worried instead for her cat, Isis, whom she'd adopted from an animal shelter and cared for ever since. Isis had been left alone in the apartment, and without anyone to care for her. Price continued paying rent she couldn't afford so Isis would have a place to stay. The building's maintenance man stopped by each day to feed the cat.

Confined to a bed, Price began making calls to resources in the area, looking for someone to help find a new home for Isis. Word eventually got around to Dorian Wagner, a marketing director who spends her free time operating the volunteer-based Cute Transport Network, which helps bring abandoned pets to new homes. Wagner telephoned Price at the hospice center and knew she had to help. "She was just the most adorable, nicest person," she said.

After Wagner announced the situation to her social media network, a stream of kindness began rushing toward Price. People offered care for Isis, and people from across the world – some as far as Australia – began sending Christmas cards for Joan. "We have this amazing group of people," Wagner said. "Everyone wanted to send food, to visit. … Joan's been totally blown away by all of it. There's no way in the world she would have expected anything like this to happen." The kindness didn't stop there, however.

People also sent gifts, including a Kindle so she could finish reading the Nora Roberts trilogy. "She reads for about eight hours a day," said Wagner. The group has also gifted a seemingly endless supply of Price's favorite foods - frozen tiramisu desserts, raspberry cheesecake bars and Starbucks vanilla latte packets. Someone even painted a portrait of Isis. The best gift, however, was yet to come.

Even though cats aren't technically allowed in the hospice center, Wagner convinced Price's caretakers to let Isis visit. "Joan was petting her, singing these little songs that she sings just for her, which was adorable and heartbreaking at the same time," said Wagner. Isis purred on her owner's lap for hours. Joan is now at peace with her situation, finding joy in the simple pleasures. Legacy.com would like to thank Wagner and the kind souls she rallied behind a good cause.

Would you like to help give Joan and Isis the best possible final days together? Visit http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/make-isis-and-joan-s-dreams-come-true-isisandjoan/280825 to contribute.