Sharing Wishes Fund Provides Man With One Final Trip

Walt learns he gets to take a special trip to St. Louis

Walt McCarty didn’t have a big wish on his bucket list before he died. He only wanted to make one last trip to St. Louis.

Walt has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a common lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. With limited finances and time, the 79-year-old Springfield man knew that the prospect for a final overnight trip wasn’t good.

But that’s when one of Walt’s caregivers with Memorial Home Services Hospice told him and his daughter, Linda Roberts, about the newly established Sharing Wishes Fund, administered by the Memorial Medical Center Foundation.

The fund was launched in March to help fulfill the wishes of terminally ill hospice patients and their families in central Illinois.

Walt was the first recipient of the fund. On April 19, he and his daughter and her boyfriend made the overnight trip to the Ameristar Casino Resort in St. Charles, Mo.

The Sharing Wishes Fund provided Walt with a scooter and a portable oxygen tank, a gas card and a VISA card for food purchases. He was able to keep the scooter to use at home. No money from the fund was provided for Walt to use in the casino, and the family took care of the hotel bill.

Left to Right: Shelley Gray, Hospice RN; Walt’s daughter, Linda; Kelly Ziffra, MSW, Hospice social worker; Walt and his great-grandson

How did Walt enjoy his trip?

Looking up from a jigsaw puzzle on a table in his daughter’s home, he beamed: “I won one-thousand, three-hundred thirty dollars and ninety-six cents,” he said.

Standing nearby, his daughter also found the trip rewarding.

“It created memories for me,” she said.


To see a complete list of wishes granted or to make a donation to the Sharing Wishes Fund visit the Sharing Wishes page on the Memorial Medical Center Foundation website.